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A Healthy Diet is Set Early in Life

Promoting a healthy diet from infancy is important to prevent childhood obesity and the onset of chronic disease. This is the finding from a study published in the latest issue of Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health which described quantity and diversity of food and drinks consumed by children aged 12-16 months.

The toddler years are a critical age in the development of long-term food preferences, but this is also the age that autonomy, independence and food fussiness begins. Liking a nutrient-dense diet that incorporates all five food groups is important, as evidence suggests that food preferences develop at this early age and persist into adulthood.

The researchers found that iron deficiency also remains an issue for toddlers in both developed and developing countries. Although most toddlers were consuming a diverse diet, the amount and type of meat or meat alternatives consumed were poor. Almost all children were consuming foods we would consider completely unnecessary at this age, such as sweet biscuits.

Byrne B et al., Food and beverage intake in Australian children aged 12-16 months participating in the NOURISH and SAIDI studies. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 2014; 38 (4): 326 DOI: 10.1111/1753-6405.12249

Categories: Nutritional News, Children's Health