For new parents, deciding what to feed an infant or toddler can be daunting. Now, one report suggests that marketing might be making that choice even tougher, as the majority of ad money goes toward promoting unhealthy baby foods.
Researchers at the University of Connecticut's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity recently studied how the multi-millions spent marketing infant and toddler food is allocated. In 2015 alone, companies spent approximately $77 million marketing baby food, infant formula, and food and beverages for toddlers in the United States, CBS News reports. Of that significant chunk of change, nearly 60 percent was used to push products that go against the nutritional advice of health experts.
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According to lead researcher Jennifer Harris, these spending patterns can negatively influence the judgement of parents who are already overwhelmed with baby food options. "It's easy to make parents anxious about finicky eating and send them the message that their child might need these products," Harris says.