The role of commercial processed baby foods in the diets of New Zealand toddlers
Background: It is recommended that by the age of 12 months toddlers should have progressed from consuming puréed foods to consuming family foods. Commercial processed baby foods (CPBFs) are manufactured foods designed to meet infants’ food texture modification requirements, often by puréeing. Objective: The primary aim of this study was to investigate the nutrient contribution of CPBFs to the diets of New Zealand toddlers. The secondary aim of this study was to investigate whether there were any significant differences in the nutrient intakes of toddlers who consume CPBFs compared to the toddlers who do not consume CPBFs. Methods: Prior to this study there were no nutrient lines assigned to CPBFs or infant formulas and toddler milks (IFTMs) in Kai-culator (an online dietary assessment tool developed by the Department of Human Nutrition at the University of Otago). To determine New Zealand toddlers’ intakes of CPBFs, CPBFs needed to be identified and then their nutrient lines entered into Kai-culator. The CPBFs were identified through three Dunedin supermarkets, manufacturers’ websites, and a comprehensive document of all CPBFs manufactured by Heinz-Watties Ltd. A single nutrient line for each CPBF was developed in Kai-culator using the CPBF’s Nutrition Information Panel and ingredients list. The macro- and micro-nutrients from the recipe were calculated within Kai-culator, based on the ingredients list, and then compared to the nutrient values from the CPBF’s Nutrient Information Panel. If the macronutrient values calculated by Kai-culator differed from the Nutrient Information Panel by more than 5%, then the quantities of ingredients were altered. The candidate developed a total of 151 CPBF recipes. Another Master of Science student entered nutrient lines for IFTMs into Kai-culator. The CPBF nutrient lines in combination with the Eating Assessment in Toddlers study data were used to assess New Zealand toddlers’ intakes of CPBFs. In 2012, two Master of Science students recruited 154 toddlers from Wellington, Dunedin and Christchurch to complete a 5-day diet record. Originally, the CPBFs in the diet records were entered as similar food items in Kai-culator. The candidate changed the food items to the new CPBF recipes. Kai-culator was then used to calculate the toddlers’ nutrient intakes. Results: Sixty percent of the participants consumed CPBFs. They consumed on average 1.03 CPBFs per day. Toddlers who consumed CPBFs had significantly lower intakes of sodium, and significantly higher intakes of iodine, vitamin A and vitamin C than non-consumers. Thirty-three percent of the participants consumed an IFTM. Those who consumed IFTMs had significantly lower intakes of energy, saturated fat, total sugar, sodium and selenium, and significantly higher intakes of calcium, iron and iodine than non-consumers. IFTMs contributed substantially more to the median daily energy intake (14.5%) than CPBFs (1.8%). Participants who consumed CPBFs were more likely to consume IFTMs than those who did not consume CPBFs. Conclusion: The results of this study showed that there are significant differences in the nutrient intakes of toddlers who consume CPBFs compared to the toddlers who do not consume CPBFs. Participants who consumed CPBFs and IFTMs had more favourable nutrient intakes. However, due to the cost of the CPBFs, it is possible that participants’ parent’s characteristics, such as income and education, may be responsible for the more favourable intakes rather than the CPBFs themselves. Those who consumed CPBFs were also more likely to consume IFTMs which may help explain their more favourable nutrient intakes.
Advisor: Heath, Anne-Louise; Fleming, Liz
Degree Name: Master of Dietetics
Degree Discipline: Human Nutrition
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: New Zealand; toddlers; baby food
Research Type: Thesis