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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Link Between Children's Nutrition and Adult Diseases

University of Granada's Department of Pediatrics' researchers investigated the link between what the children eat and the development of diabetes, cardiovascular problems, allergies, obesity, weak bones and behavioral and neuromotor functioning. The study included the group effort of 16 countries with their 38 universities and companies.

The mission of this study is to aid in the formation of policies, guidelines and recommendations on the improvement of the children's nutrition.. The project called EARNEST (The Early Nutrition Programming Project) also aims to help in plans to prevent the negative influence of nutrition on metabolism.

The professor who heads this project in Granada, Cristina Campoy, said that "early nutrition programming" is a recent addition to the science and health field. Nutrition has been shown in researches to have a long term effect in children's health and the development of diseases.

The effect of nutrition during three stages (prenatal, postnatal, infancy) on the health and growth along with how the approaches on the prevention of the effects on the metabolism were covered. It also investigated the nutritional interventions and clinical tests, the economic and social studies linked to nutrition and their influence in the onset of diseases later.

Another consideration this project hoped to find was whether breastfeeding can prevent risk of obesity since it is known that the growth kinetics of children who are breastfed differ from those who are commercially fed. This has been connected to eating habits. I tried to look for the result of the study but could not find it but because of its importance, here are tips from the American Heart Association:

  • The number of calories should be enough to support the development and maintenance of ideal weight.

  • Foods consumed should be low in trans fat, saturated fat, salt, cholesterol and additional sugar.

  • The total fat consumed should only be between 30% and 35% of calories for 2 and 3 year olds, 26% and 35% of calories for 4 to 18 year olds. Most of these fats should come from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids like nuts, fish, and vegetable oils.

  • Opt for a selection of foods to obtain adequate protein, carbohydrates and other nutrients.

  • Consume only enough calories to keep healthy weight depending on height and build and be active for a minimum of 60 minutes a day.

  • Eat breads that are whole grain and with high fiber.

  • Eat an assortment of fruits and vegetables every day with each meal having at least one vegetable or one fruit. Lessen the amount of juice intake.

  • Fish should be served regularly and not the commercially fried kind.

  • Dairy foods consumed should be of low-fat and fat-free variety.

  • Never overfeed. Estimated number of calories for one year old is 900, for 14 to 18 year old girls, it's 1800 and for 14 to 18 year old boys, it's 2200.

There you have the eating pattern that is recommended by the American Health Association. It should be enough to maintain growth and development of the child with the nutrients including calcium and iron necessary for good health. This should protect one from diseases.


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