The study comes at a time when one in six children and adolescents in the US are obese.
Accordingly, kids between 1 and 2 years of age were consuming added sugar nearly exclusively and the consumed amount is equal to 7 teaspoons of sugar per day.
Kirsten Herrick, a nutritional epidemiologist at the CDC, examined 24-hour food consumption patterns of a nationally representative sample including more than 800 infants and toddlers aged 6 to 23 months old.
Eating foods with added sugar at an early age can influence food preferences that set a pattern for less healthy food choices later in life, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said. The children were aged between 6 and 23 months. Artificial sweeteners with zero calories and natural sugars found in fruits, vegetables and milk weren't included.
Those aged between two to 19 years old as well as adult women should not eat more than six teaspoons of added sugar per day, rising to nine for men.
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Consuming a high amount of sugar is linked to high levels of cavities, asthma, obesity as well as risk of cardiovascular diseases later on life. She would be presenting this study results at the American Society for Nutrition annual meeting during Nutrition 2018, to be held June 9-12, 2018 in Boston.
Herrick said the findings could have implications for the upcoming revision of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. To measure the consumption of added sugar, the researchers documented foods containing cane sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, honey and other forms of sugar. Further studies are planned that will better evaluate the specific sources of added sugar children are eating.
"The easiest way to reduce added sugars in your own diet and your kids' diet is to choose foods that you know don't have them, like fresh fruits and vegetables", Herrick suggested. Factoring in added sugar taken with coffee, tea, and alcoholic beverages, the number gets bumped up to 47 percent. More than half of 6 to 11-month-olds surveyed were given added sugar on a given day.
Researchers say 60 percent of children have sugar before their first birthday, and consumption rises with age. She said that future studies are aiming at looking at the types of foods that are contributing to the excess sugar intake in kids as well. These could be from bakery foods or ready-to-eat breakfast cereals, desserts or sweets and candy.