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International Health Insurance News: Feeding babies salty foods 'establishes bad diets'

Expatriate parents with overseas health insurance may wish to limit the amount of salt they allow their children to eat, as it has been said this can result in a poor diet in later life.

Charlotte Stirling-Reed, nutrition consultant for Greatvine.com, explained that preferences for particular foodstuffs generally begin in infancy.

These can be particularly hard to overcome without a determined effort, she continued.

Recent research from the University of Bristol has shown 70 per cent of eight-month-old babies consume a level of salt higher than that recommended by UK healthcare professionals, with products including yeast extract, cows' milk, tinned spaghetti, baked beans and gravy contributing to this problem.

"There is a lot of salt being given to babies," Ms Stirling-Reed declared.

She noted around three-quarters of an average person's intake of this mineral comes from what is already in a meal, with many baby foods containing particularly high levels of it.

This has resulted in excessive salt intake becoming "quite a widespread problem", the expert asserted, adding that she definitely thinks feeding children salty meals leads to poor eating habits.

She said that, in her job as a nutritionist, she witnesses health problems caused by people feeding babies too much salt on a daily basis.

Toddlers will also appreciate the foods offered to them by their parents and will develop preferences that continue throughout their lifetime, the professional stated.

Parents must instead provide their offspring with "fresh, home-cooked food" as often as they can to allow them to develop a balanced diet in the future, "especially with young children", the expert claimed.

Researchers at the University of Bristol also recommended feeding infants formula or breast milk rather than cows' milk, which should not become a main drink until a person is at least 12 months old.

As well as establishing poor dietary habits for the future, developing kidneys also suffer when salt intake is too high, the study stated.

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