Young mothers in the UK are getting babies as young as five months hooked on to junk food even before they learn to chew, scientists, led by an Indian-origin researcher, have found.
Researchers followed the diets of children aged 12 to 18 months in a two-year study of 1,250 babies born in the UK. “Some mums were giving children chips and sugary drinks at five months old,” said professor Pinki Sahota, head of nutrition at Leeds Beckett University .”Low-educated mothers tended to be the worst. A lot of them have not got the cooking skills,” Sahota said.
One mother quizzed by researchers about how much cooking she did at home said, “not much, we send them down the road to get burger, chips and a drink for 99 pence.”
Another child’s first teeth were already black as the infant had been given cola in the feeding bottle. The mother of another boy , who had no teeth and was overweight, would cut the ends off chips and squeeze the potato into his mouth.
“Parents are giving kids junk food because they are eating it themselves,” she said. “The fact that children are having this kind of food at such an early age is concerning enough. But parents are establishing bad eating habits for life,” Sahota said. “Older, more educated parents knew the value of fruit and vegetables,” she said.