Nutritional choices for our children: are we giving too much, too soon?

The nutrition of our children during their early years depends largely on food choices that we make for them. At this critical time, nutrition does not only influence a child's growth and development but also his lifelong health.

Child nutrition in early years

It is a fact that the building blocks of a healthy life are set during the early years of a child's life. But did you know that giving him more doesn't necessarily mean better nutrition? At times, giving him too much, too soon may trigger negative lifelong health consequences.

Good nutrition - the right quality and quantity

Giving your child good nutrition is not simply about making available in the diet generous amounts of the different macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates and fats) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals).1 Providing them food sources with the right quality and quantity of these nutrients is essential. After all, it is really a matter of adequate amounts in the right balance.

How does this influence my growing child?

Research shows that giving too much of a nutrient, too soon may do more harm than good especially for a growing child. Let's take protein for example. Studies will now tell us that giving a child more protein than what he needs for growth and development can predispose him to obesity2, a condition where a child's weight for his height is way above the limit set by the World Health Organization3.

His lifelong health

As further evidence suggests, obesity makes children more prone to develop chronic diseases later in life. Some of these include early onset hypertension, diabetes and heart disease4, all of which are chronic diseases that have a negative impact on a child's quality of life and lifelong health.

What can I do for my child?

As parents, we must keep in mind that good nutrition influences the course of our child's lifelong health. Be mindful in choosing wisely for him everyday! Today, decide to start building his strong nutritional foundation for life. Take the first step by opting to give him a milk drink with the right quality and quantity of protein.



References:

  1. Institute of Medicine: Dietary reference intakes for energy, carbohydrate, fiber, fat, fatty acids, cholesterol, protein, and amino acids. National Academy of Sciences, 2002/2005
  2. Koletzko, B. et al. Lower protein in infant formula is associated with lower weight up to 2y: a randomized clinical trial. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2009; 89: 1863-45
  3. Obesity and Overweight. World Health Organization Fact Sheet. January 2015. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs311/en/ accessed July 25, 2015.
  4. Weiss R, Dziurra J, Burgert TS, et al. Obesity and the metabolic syndrome in children and adolescents. N Engl J Med. 2004; 350:2362-2374
  5. Image courtesy of Stoonn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net