The latest findings regarding infant nutrition
In April 2014 an International Conference on Developmental Origins of Adiposity and Long-term Health was held in Munich. Experts from around the world gathered to discuss the latest findings in the field of early life nutrition. Specifically, they examined the long-term effects of early nutrition and lifestyle factors on obesity and related disorders. Outlined below are some of the very interesting findings.
1. A father's diet can affect his daughter’s risk of breast cancer
A Brazilian study found that if a fathers diet was deficient in selenium at the time of conception, their daughter was more likely to develop breast cancer later in life. On the other hand, selenium supplementation had a protective effect against breast cancer.
2. Breastfeeding beyond six months could reduce the risk of obesity
Professor Wendy Oddy from the University of Western Australia followed 1053 subjects from birth to age 20 to determine whether there was a correlation between duration of breastfeeding and the risk of being overweight or obese in adulthood. Her findings were that stopping exclusive breastfeeding before the age of six months (as opposed to six months or later), was associated with an increased chance of being overweight or obese at the age of 20.
3. Longer exclusive breastfeeding has a beneficial effect on children’s fitness
Researchers studied 1025 children aged 9-10 years and 971 adolescents aged 15-16 years from Sweden and Estonia to determine whether duration of breastfeeding was linked to cardiorespiratory fitness. Their conclusion was that longer exclusive breastfeeding had a positive impact on the children’s and teenagers’ cardio fitness.
4. More research needed on impact of toddler nutrition
Dr Martine Alles analysed the eating habits of older infants and toddlers in Europe. She found that their dietary intake of iron, vegetables, vitamin D omega-3 fatty acids and iodine were low. In additon the intake of protein, saturated fatty acids and added sugar were high. Based on these results, she has recommended that further studies be conducted to determine the effects of older infant and toddler nutrition on adult health outcomes.
5. The timing of solid food introduction doesn’t affect risk of obesity
German researchers found no significant impact on the age at which solid foods were introduced and obesity risk later in life. Surprisingly, they also didn’t find any correlation between eating any specific foods or food groups during the weaning period and the risk of childhood obesity.