One More Reason to Feed Children Well

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nutritionOur children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren need a healthy start in life. The rates of childhood obesity are growing, but this story isn’t about that popular issue. This is about the mind and about how a healthy diet for toddlers opens up a better and smarter path to the future.

This health breakthrough comes from Down Under at the University of Adelaide. Children fed healthy diets at an early age may wind up possessing a higher IQ — while those on heavier junk food diets may have a reduced IQ.

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The study looked at the link between the eating habits of children at six months, 15 months, and two years. Then researchers examined the children’s IQs later, down the road, at the age of eight. The study included more than 7,000 youngsters, comparing a range of dietary patterns, including traditional and contemporary home-prepared food, ready-prepared baby food, breastfeeding, and “discretionary” or junk food.

What we feed the youngest members of our families — the future of the country — contains vital nutrients needed for the development of brain tissues. This is very important in the first two years of life. The aim of the study in question was to look at what impact diet would have on children’s IQs.

Certain children at age eight were found to have an IQ up to two points higher. These were breastfed children at six months who also had a healthy diet that regularly included foods such as legumes, cheese, fruit, and vegetables at 15 and 24 months. Consequently, those whose diets regularly involving biscuits, chocolate, sweets, soft drinks, and chips in the first two years of life had IQs up to two points lower by age eight.

This serves to reinforce the notion that children require healthy foods at a crucial, formative time in their lives. While the two-point gap in IQ isn’t a huge difference, the study is a nice springboard into the matters of proper nutrition.

A virtual mountain of evidence has surfaced over the last few decades in regards to diets of young children. There are clear links between poor diets and higher risks of a litany of health issues, leading off with obesity, type 2 diabetes, asthma, and conditions affecting the heart. Kids need a healthy start to life, for their bodies and their minds, and it is all of our responsibilities to ensure that they get that start.

We must consider the longer-term impact of the foods we feed our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.