Anyone who eats knows junk food is a formidable foe, but leave it to a study on babies’ diets to make this depressingly clear: According to the findings, parents’ own diets are now such a disaster that they’ve stooped to feeding their newborns candy, soda, and chips before the kids can technically even chew.
Scientists at Leeds Beckett University in England came to this awful realization after trying to learn what the infants were eating in the midsize British city of Bradford. They collected info on 1,250 babies’ diets, and it’s amazing their data didn’t cause a heart attack itself: “Some mums were giving children chips, crisps, and sugary drinks at five months old,” lead author Pinki Sahota says in dismay. Many fed their children who couldn’t walk yet things like soda and potato chips seven times a week, and they say the mother of one overweight infant revealed she cuts fries into little pieces so her son can gum on them. Worse yet, researchers horrifyingly reported another kid’s baby teeth came in black because the parents put so much soda in the infant’s bottle.
Sahota says their research suggests food companies need to be more responsible, and that having more education helps diets improve in the children of wealthier and older parents. Those are both givens, but neither does much for advocates hoping to fix the problem when sometimes even health officials seem to be working against them.