Childhood & Beyond…

The foods that children eat and nutrients that they obtain from these can have far reaching effects.  It can influence their immediate well-being, how they learn at school and how they perform physically and mentally alongside their later health.  As parents and educators it is important that we equip children with the right foods and knowledge to be the best they can possibly be.  In this section we take a look at the latest insights related to nutrition during the childhood years.

Don‘t ’Pet’ Children to Avoid Obesity

An excellent new review has now likened obesity in children to obesity in pets – triggered by “pet-parenting”.

So what is “pet-parenting”?  Basically, this is when obesity (in children and pets) is due to excessive treats and meal amounts – a form of doting love and affection.  Those giving the treats/food often tend to get caught up in a cycle of giving these treats/foods in order to avoid the ire of the child or pet.  Sound familiar? Begging, pestering, whimpering, whining!

What to do? Well, the scientists advise a series of withdrawal techniques where the problem foods – be it gravy bones or sweet treats are gradually withdrawn, or portion sizes are reduced, eventually leading to their elimination.

So, keep the treats as a treat and as Michelle Obama once said “the real problems begin to arise when the treat becomes the everyday occurrence”.

For more information, see: Pretlow RA et al. (2016) British Journal of Nutrition. Vol.116, no.5; pg.944-9.

Iron & ADHD Link?

It is relatively well known that omega-3 and 6 fatty acids can play a role in the management of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, aka ADHD.

Now, new evidence has revealed that iron as a nutrient may also have a role in the development of ADHD.  Iron is a valuable trace element that plays a role in brain function and dopamine systems.  We have also seen from studies with teenagers that iron supplements may help to aid ‘class concentration’.  So, from these perspectives such a link makes potential sense.

The scientific paper pooled results from 11 studies.  Findings showed that serum ferritin levels (a marker of iron stores) were lower in ADHD cases.  These results do suggest that children with ADHD may have lower stores of iron but other studies are needed to reconfirm findings.

These are intriguing results showing that serum ferritin levels are lower in children with ADHD.  Whether this is a consequence or cause of ADHD is yet to be determined.  That said, iron status should certainly be considered in future studies looking at ADHD in children.

For more information, see: Wang Y et al. (2017) PLoS One Vol.12, No.1: pg, e0169145.