Parenting in the 21st century is quite a daunting task. There are a number of options available for health and nutrition of infants and toddlers. So what should the parents choose for their children to ensure maximum nutrient intake? The answer lies in a recent study conducted by researchers from the United States. The study published in the journal AIMS Public Health, illustrated the importance of rice baby cereal in achieving proper nutrition. The findings of the study are conclusive evidence that the importance of baby rice cereal cannot be understated.
The research team examined National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data, a national survey of food intake, from 2001 to 2014 to assess food intake in infants and toddlers from birth to 23 months. The study evaluated four age ranges - ages 0 to 3 months, 4 to 6 months, 7 to 11 months and 12 to 23 months - and the role of cereal consumption such as rice cereal. Researchers investigated whether baby cereal was related to different eating patterns, nutrient status and intakes of added sugars, saturated fat and sodium, when compared to non-cereal consumers.
According to the study, baby cereal consumers were also found to be less likely to have inadequate intakes of iron, calcium and vitamin E - important nutrients for an infant's development. "The results of this study build a strong case for the benefits of feeding your infant baby cereal," said the study's researcher Theresa Nicklas from Baylor College of Medicine in the US.
"As the US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee looks to evaluate food patterns and nutrient status of infants aged 0 to 23 months, it is important to consider the role of baby cereal in the diets of infants and toddlers," Nicklas added.
The study shows that when introduced as early as four months, baby cereal, including rice cereal, is associated with improved nutrient status. From four to six months of age, babies who ate cereal took in more calories, carbohydrates, whole grains and key nutrients, like vitamin B6, calcium, iron and magnesium.
As infants get older, the results remained similar. From seven to 11 months, cereal consumers were found to have higher intakes of carbohydrates, vitamin E, calcium, iron, zinc and magnesium. According to the researchers, beyond the first year of life, baby cereal consumption continued to be associated with greater iron, zinc and vitamin E intake. Overall, the study demonstrates there is a strong public health benefit to feeding infants ages 4 to 11 months infant baby cereal.
Thus, babies who consumed baby cereal had more complete and balanced nutrition than those who were not fed the same. Thus, this research can be used to create an improved nutrition profile for toddlers.
(This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.)