Food patterns and chemical contamination of baby food
Studying nutrition patterns in children remains relevant for analysis of nutritional status in the population, including children. Child nutrition is considered the environmental factor that eventually defines the child’s health status and life expectancy. The large scale commercial market of adapted and partially adapted milk formulas for bottle feeding usually encourages mothers to refuse to breastfeed and transfer their babies to bottle feeding, which could be unsafe for the child. Supplementary and complementary foods could contain various foreign substances, which could increase chemical load on the growing child’s body by means of the consumed food products. The study was aimed to assess nutrition patterns in infants based on the questionnaire survey of 600 mothers in various healthcare institutions and to evaluate chemical contamination of the products for bottle feeding/supplementary feeding of infants, as well as of complementary foods based on the data acquired by the Federal Information Fund for Social and Hygienic Monitoring of the Russian Federation in 65 federal subjects in 2012–2017. The data obtained were processed using the Microsoft Word 2010 and Microsoft Excel 2010 software. It has been found that 37.3% infants are breastfed, 62.7% of infants are bottle-fed or supplemented. In 74.7% of cases complementary foods are introduced at the age of 4–6 months. Fruit and vegetable products are most commonly used as first complementary foods, after which cereal foods (cereal mixes) and canned meat are introduced. These types of food products have the highest concentrations of heavy metals (lead, cadmium, arsenic, mercury).
Keywords: toxic elements, chemicals, baby food, food pattern, breastfeeding, complementary feeding products