Main report findings
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
A study has found that hearing loss is linked to poor nutrition in early childhood (picked up by Science Daily). Having surveyed 2,200 young adults, researchers found that those under-nourished at preschool were approximately twice as likely to suffer from hearing loss.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has said that a baby’s nutritional environment during the first 1,000 days of life is critical to lifelong mental health and development. Adequate amounts of key minerals, vitamins and macronutrients such as protein and certain fats during the prenatal period and the infant and toddler years, the report says, can help avoid permanent deficits in brain function.
The European Academy of Paediatrics and the European Childhood Obesity Group
The European Academy of Paediatrics and the European Childhood Obesity Group have suggested that there are strong links between exposure to mass media and child obesity rates (picked up by Medical Xpress). The research suggests that the influence of social media and television on children’s dietary habits should be further investigated.
A study conducted by Safefood Ireland has concluded that the total lifetime cost of childhood obesity in Ireland amounts to €7.2 billion, and that a 1% reduction in childhood BMI could generate savings of €365 million.
University of Virginia
The University of Virginia has found that breastfeeding for at least two months cuts a baby’s risk of sudden infant death syndrome almost in half.
University of Illinois
Research from the University of Illinois (picked up in Medical Express) has shown that a mother’s diet during pregnancy, particularly one that is high-fat, may programme her baby for future risk of certain diseases such as diabetes
World Obesity Federation
A new study from the World Obesity Federation (picked up in the Guardian) has predicted there will be 2.7 billion overweight and obese adults by 2025 – many of whom will likely end up needing medical care. They are calling on Governments to do more to “check the rapidly worsening epidemic of obesity”.
Obesity Health Alliance
Research conducted by the Obesity Health Alliance, which claims that the money spent on junk food advertising far outweighs the amount Government is able to spend on healthy eating campaigns, leading to an unbalanced environment pushing us towards unhealthy choices:
- Top spending crisp, confectionary and sugary drinks brands put over £143 million a year into advertising their products
- This dwarfs the £5.2 million annual spend on Government’s flagship health eating campaign
- Meanwhile the NHS spends an estimated £38 million a year on weight loss surgery
National Charity Partnership
A study by the National Charity Partnership has found that most women do not know how much they should be eating while pregnant. The research found that only a third of expectant mothers knew how much they should be eating. The Partnership, made up of Diabetes UK, the British Heart Foundation and Tesco, has said that information on what pregnant women can eat is not reaching them. More than one third of mothers researched believed they had to eat 300 or more extra calories every day. 61% said they should start taking on extra calories in the first or second trimester.
University of Reading
A study conducted by the University of Reading found that Britons consume more sugar than they think. The researchers also found a link between high sugar diets and obesity. The researchers found the average woman ate 117g of sugar per day, as opposed to 78g reported by the National Diet and Nutrition Survey. For men the figures were 162g against 107g. The paper, published in the journal Plos One, also found that as the amount of sugar someone ate increased, their likelihood of being obese also increased.
American Academy of Neurology
The American Academy of Neurology has found that women who breastfed for 15 months or longer had a lower risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS) later in life. They were had a 53% lower risk of developing MS than women who had not breastfed, or who had breastfed for 4 months or under.
University of Berkeley
A study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine suggests that maternal obesity and child neurodevelopmental may be linked. Researchers found that the heavier mothers were when entering their pregnancy, the more likely their sons were to have behavioural problems. This was not found to be applicable for girls. Boys whose mothers were underweight pre-pregnancy also showed higher risk for behavioural problems.
University of Virginia School of Medicine
Infants born with a high birthweight are more likely to become obese as children, a new study from the University of Virginia School of Medicine suggests. The researchers say paediatricians may want to counsel parents of high birthweight babies early on to prevent the onset of obesity and the health problems it eventually brings. Children born with a large birthweight were 69% more likely than average-weight children to be obese by age 3 and continuing at least through primary school.
According to a survey commissioned by snack manufacturer Wellaby’s, more than half of UK consumers do not know what constitutes a single serving of snacks. Up to one-third of Britons felt they had been misled into buying larger bags of snacks and 36% said serving size on labelling on crisps and snacks was not clear enough. However, a quarter of respondents admitted to not checking snack labelling for serving sizes.
Queen Mary University
Researchers from Queen Mary, University of London have suggested that women who consume sugar excessively whilst pregnant are doubling the chances of their child developing asthma. Lead researcher Professor Seif Shaheen said whilst the research was merely at the ‘hypothesis’ level, ‘we will certainly be investigating further with some urgency.’ He urged pregnant women to avoid consuming too much sugar.
Journal of Paediatrics
A new study has found that prolonged breastfeeding increases the risk of tooth decay, arguing that preventive intervention for dental care should be established as early as possible given the benefits of breastfeeding on child health. Children who were breastfed for 2 years or longer were 2.4 times more likely to have severe cavities compared to infants breastfed for less than a year. Breastfeeding on demand and at night makes it difficult for parents to clean their child’s teeth in these circumstances.
Research from Oxford University and the Chinese Academy for Medical Sciences has found that breastfeeding is not only beneficial for babies but could “prevent women suffering a stroke or developing heart disease in later life”. The researchers studies nearly 300,000 middle-aged women for eight years and discovered that those who had breast fed were 9% less likely to develop heart disease and 8% less likely to suffer a stroke. The health benefits increased the longer they had breast fed their children. Women who delayed bottle feeding until two years old lowered their risk of heart disease by 18% and stroke by 17%.
British Dietetic Association
A recent Populus survey commissioned by the British Dietetic Association (BDA) showed that UK public don’t know who to trust for advice on diet and nutrition. The poll showed 58% of people stated that they would trust diet and nutrition advice provided to them by underqualified professionals, such as personal trainers or fitness instructors. 82% of people surveyed said they would trust a dietitian for their dietary advice. The BDA’s survey also found that 35% of people would trust diet and nutrition advice provided to them by a TV chef and that women were particularly vulnerable to trusting underqualified or unqualified professionals.
Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, found that three out of every four pregnant women worldwide, and their healthcare teams, do not achieve a healthy weight gain during pregnancy, leading to preventable adverse health consequences for women and their babies. In addition, researchers found mothers are often gaining too much weight during pregnancy, increasing health risks during pregnancy and beyond, leading to their children more likely to be overweight or obese.
University Hospital Nuestra Señora de Valme
Researchers found that breastfeeding can reduce chronic pain after caesarean delivery. 8% of mothers who breastfed for at least 2 months experienced chronic pain, compared with 23% of mothers who breastfed for under 2 months.
American Academy of Paediatrics
The American Academy of Paediatrics has updated its guidelines on fruit juice consumption for infants and now advises parents to stop giving fruit juice to children in the first year of life. Previous guidelines advised against fruit juice consumption until 6 months of age. This is the first time the paediatricians’ group has updated its guidelines on fruit juice since 2001.
VU University Medical Center
New research presented at the European Congress on Obesity suggests that childhood obesity may significantly increase the lifetime risk of major depression.
University College Cork
A study from University College Cork presented at the European Congress on Obesity showed that overweight and obese children tend to drink more soft drinks than healthy children. The authors believe that financial incentives, such as a sugar tax, could help in fighting childhood obesity. While this tax has already been introduced in the UK, the Irish Government plans to introduce a similar measure in 2018.
University of Birmingham
The University of Birmingham argues that ‘healthy’ obese people are still facing a higher risk of heart failure of stroke than the rest of the population. The results raise questions around the concept of ‘healthy obesity’ – a condition characterised by having normal markers of metabolic health despite a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more. Many newspapers have picked up the research, stressing the ‘fat but fit myth’ (see The Telegraph, The Guardian and BBC).
University of Saint Andrews and WHO
Research conducted by the University of St Andrews, as part of a WHO report into childhood obesity, found that less than 50% of UK adolescents eat fruit or vegetables daily. However, young people in the UK are eating fewer sweets and drinking less sodas than they did 15 years ago. The WHO report, which looked at the health and wellbeing of young people around the world, examined their behaviours over a 12 year period (2002 to 2014). On average, the report suggests that 4 per cent of adolescents are obese which equates to over 1.4 million young people across Europe. The RCPCH and the Obesity Health Alliance have encouraged the next Government to prioritise childhood obesity.
A survey conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of Nutrisystem (a US weight loss products and services provider) found that 81% of mothers with children under 18 admit to eating off their children’s plates either before, during or after a meal. 36% say they eat less healthfully now than they did before they became a parent. The article recommends reassessing children’s portion sizes if they consistently have food left over.
Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences
A study carried out by the Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences showed that children’s eating behaviours are influenced by the portion size adults give them. Teachers were found to serve the right amount of food to children. However, when asked to serve 50% more food at lunch, the children ate more. The “portion size effect” was stronger in older children (5-6 years old) who ate everything, and weaker in younger children (2 – 3 years old) who consistently had leftovers.
New research conducted by UCLA shows that breastfeeding benefits children by transferring bacteria. This suggests that breastmilk contribute to infants’ gut microbiome. The results may indicate that gut microbiome is different for breast-fed and formula-fed babies.
University of Manitoba
Research conducted by the University of Manitoba found that breastfeeding helps prevent wheezing. The study found that the longer babies were exclusively breastfed, the lower their risk of wheezing. The lead author hopes that the study will increase understanding that breastfeeding should be promoted at the policy level in terms of maternity leave, access to breastfeeding support and developing a positive culture around breastfeeding.
King’s College London
Children with obesity face four times the risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to children with a body mass index (BMI) in the normal range, according to a study published in the Journal of the Endocrine Society. In addition, the researchers found that the rate of children developing type 2 diabetes increased from an average of six new cases per 100,000 children each year between 1994 and 1998, to an average of 33 new cases per 100,000 children each year, between 2009 and 2013.
University of Cambridge
The study found the consumption of a high fat and sugar diet during pregnancy increases the mother’s risk of developing metabolic impairment that may affect the growth and development of the foetus. A higher than recommended intake “exacerbates and distorts metabolic changes which occur naturally as a result of the pregnancy…..[causing] poor metabolic control”. The study also explains why babies from mothers who are obese or eat obesogenic diets during pregnancy have a tendency to develop conditions such as obesity and type-2 diabetes.
Researchers from Norway found that small children with low levels of vitamin B12 had more difficulties solving cognitive tests, such as the ability to do puzzles, recognize letters and interpret other children’s feelings. Related media articles noted that vegan mothers were more likely to have children who perform worse at school as their nutrition prevents their infants from getting enough B12 vitamin, which is mainly found in meat, dairy and eggs.
ESRI and Trinity College Dublin
A new study followed about 8,000 babies in Ireland for five years to look at whether breastfeeding had an impact on problem solving and vocabulary (cognitive abilities), and problem behaviours. The findings showed that there was no difference in the breastfed and not-breastfed children’s cognitive abilities at three or five.
University of Delaware
Researchers from the University of Delaware found that rapid weight gain in an infant’s first six months of life is a risk factor for child and adulthood obesity. The study confirmed that healthy babies who received cow’s milk formula had accelerated weight gain compared to babies fed a hydrolysed protein formula, who gained weight similarly to their breastfed counterparts.
Despite claims made by supplement companies, taking fish oil supplements while pregnant will not result in smarter children, according to the results of a decade-long study by Australian researchers. Jacqueline Gould from SAHMRI said there were no significant differences in language, academic abilities, or executive functioning as a result of fish oil exposure.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a higher carbohydrate intake (mainly from sugar) during pregnancy was associated with a higher BMI in infancy and childhood.
A Stockholm-based institute has this week showed that babies born to dieting mothers are more likely to have schizophrenia later in life. Women who diet during pregnancy are 30% more likely to have babies who develop schizophrenia later in life, said the researchers, blaming the celebrity-led pressure on women to be fit after giving birth.
University of Southern California
The University of Southern California found that fructose, a sweetener linked to health issues including obesity and diabetes, is passed through breastmilk from mother to baby. Found in fruit, processed food and soda, fructose is not a natural component of breast milk, which is still considered the gold standard diet for babies. The “secondhand sugar” is derived from a mom’s diet. Exposing infants and children to higher amounts of sugar during growth and development can produce problems with cognitive development and learning as well as create lifelong risk for obesity, diabetes, fatty liver disease and heart disease.
British Medical Journal
Research published in the British Medical Journal shows strong evidence of a link between excess body fat and 11 types of cancer, including those of the colon, breast, pancreas and ovary. Being overweight is said to be second only to smoking as the biggest preventable cause of cancer. Dr Alison Tedstone, PHE Chief Nutritionist, insisted on the need to raise awareness.
University of Cincinnati
New research published in the FASEB Journal showed that in mice, nutrition during childhood and adolescence may alter long-term behaviour and learning, and could even compensate for the negative effects on behaviour resulting from a poor maternal diet during pregnancy.
Queen Mary University
The British Medical Journal has released a new study, which claims adding vitamin D to food would reduce the risk of colds, flu and other infections such as pneumonia, hence significantly cutting NHS costs. Taking a regular vitamin D supplement halved the rate of respiratory infections in people with the lowest levels of vitamin D. The researchers say daily or weekly supplements of vitamin D would mean 3.25 million fewer people in the UK having at least one respiratory infection a year.
This opinion piece published in the Scientific American claims that giving birth by C-section alters the microbiome as babies do not inherit the full range of bacteria necessary to the optimal development of the infant immune systems. With formula feeding, infants do not receive the 700 species of microbes found in breast milk.
Imperial College London
New research from Imperial College London showed that a poor diet during pregnancy can cause biological changes that last throughout life. When mice were fed a diet deficient in protein, this interfered with the expression of genes within the embryo that are known to be important for healthy growth.
The Endocrine Society
The Endocrine Society has released a new study claiming that BPA in plastic bottles could interfere with the endocrine system of pregnant women. BPA could increase the risk of childhood obesity, as foetus exposed to BPA become less sensitive to the hormone responsible for controlling appetite.
University of South Carolina
New research published by the University of South Carolina (USC) found that children with asthma were 51% more likely to become obese. The researchers observed that early childhood asthma did contribute to the development of obesity during early childhood and adolescence. Children with a history of wheezing were at a 42% higher risk of developing obesity. Although it could be that asthma prevent children from playing and exercising as much as healthy children, the study accounted for physical activity and yet still showed these results.
Association for Psychological Science
The Association for Psychological Science observed that parents’ perceptions of their children as overweight made the children more likely to be obese as an adult. ‘Fat-shaming’ and stigmatising overweight children could result in comfort eating. Being told they were overweight led the children to make ultimately unsuccessful attempts to diet.
The Lancet Global Health
A new study published in the Lancet Global Health by an international team including Harvard University, the University of California and University of Lancaster found that multivitamins can add the equivalent of up to a full year of schooling to a child’s cognitive abilities between the ages of 9 and 12. Previous research on multivitamins during pregnancy have been controversial, with some studies suggesting that pregnant mothers should only take folic acid and vitamin D, as anything else was a “waste of money”. The study also found that early life nurturing, maternal wellbeing and parental education all led to greater education levels in children. The team has concluded that social and environmental factors trumped biological factors as the determinant of procedural memory and cognitive function.
University of Edinburgh
The University of Edinburgh has published new research claiming mothers who take heartburn medication during pregnancy may be putting their babies at a greater risk of developing asthma. The study revealed that children whose mothers were prescribed drugs to deal with acid reflux in pregnancy were a third more likely to be treated for asthma in childhood.
Mayo Medical School, Minnesota
Researchers from the Mayo Medical School and Mayo Clinic in Minnesota have looked at maternal preferences for vitamin D supplementation in breastfed infants. They found that many breastfed infants may not get enough vitamin D because mothers are reluctant to give them supplement drops and would rather take the supplement themselves. Breastmilk doesn’t contain enough vitamin D, so the American Academy of Pediatrics advises nursing mothers to give their babies daily supplements of vitamin D.
University of Minnesota and Duke University
The University of Minnesota and Duke University have published a new study on why parents purchase pre-packaged processed meals. The findings revealed that 57% of parents do so in order to save time, but 49% of them invoked family preferences. 27% of respondents who preferred ready meals cited cost savings as the reason.
American Academy of Pediatrics
The American Academy of Pediatrics has warned against using internet-based or informal human milk-sharing. Donor breast milk for preemies is previously screened and pasteurised, but donated milk bought online or donated from friends could make babies sick.
University of Copenhagen
A new study from the University of Copenhagen observed that women who took fish oil during the last three months of pregnancy significantly lowered the risk that their children would develop asthma. However, researchers claimed they were not yet in a position to recommend that pregnant women routinely take fish oil.
Lancet Public Health Journal
A cohort of researchers published a study on the impact of the sugar tax in the Lancet Public Health Journal. Their findings show that the tax will have a modest but significant impact and predicted that levels of obesity and type 2 diabetes would fall, especially among children. The study estimated that reducing sugar content in the sweetest drinks could result in more than 140,000 fewer children and adults with obesity in the UK.
Scripps Research Institute
The Institute of Health Visiting has published the 2016 Health Visiting Survey, which claims that only 70% of families receive the mandated health visitor reviews at 6-8 weeks, 1 year and 2 years. Just 30% of new mothers and their babies are receiving an antenatal visit. The survey also states that 85% of health visitors found their workload had increased over the past 2 years, due to local authorities spending cuts.
University of British Columbia
A study by the University of British Columbia (UBC) has observed that new mothers are increasingly using expressed breast milk instead of directly breastfeeding their babies. Researchers also found mothers who used expressed breast milk tended to transition to infant formula feeding earlier than breastfeeding mothers. Director of Nursing at UBC voiced the following concerns: “Although expressed breast-milk feeding provides greater benefits than infant formula, bottle-feeding may increase the risk of respiratory issues, asthma, rapid weight gain and oral diseases.”
US Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
The US Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has produced a new position paper highlighting the health benefits of vegetarian diets to cut the risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes. The Academy claimed that a vegetarian or vegan diet is appropriate for “all stages of the life cycle”. The report notes that adopting a vegetarian diet in childhood and adolescence may have significant benefits for current and later-life health, such as reducing the likelihood of becoming overweight or obese. The conclusion of the Academy is that vegetarian diets can protect both society’s health and the environment.
New research from Vanderbilt University (US) shows that mothers who have skin-to-skin contact with their baby within an hour of delivery are 50% more likely to be breastfeeding 6 months later. Experts called this period of time the “gold hour” during which a baby instinctively latches on to his mother’s breast. The findings of the study claim that mother who had skin-to-skin contact with their babies within an hour of delivery breastfeed on average for 64 days longer than infants separated from their mothers in a cot or incubator. Babies breastfed within the “golden hour” are also less stressed, and have more stable heart and breathing rates.
Cambridge Health Alliance and Harvard Medical School
The new study from Cambridge Health Alliance (US) and Harvard Medical School claims that breastfeeding could protect both mothers and babies from premature death and serious diseases. One of the findings highlights the potential return on investment of policies and interventions supporting breastfeeding. The authors of the study said their findings underscore the importance of providing women with adequate support to breastfeed, and with workplace reforms.
University of Amsterdam
The University of Amsterdam observed that severe stress in early years results in impaired brain development and health issues later in life. They found out that the nutrition of the mother during pregnancy can mitigate the harmful impact of early-life stress later on.
Journal of Human Nutrition
A study completed by US healthcare company Abbott and published in the Journal of Human Nutrition has showed that scientists were able to replicate sugars naturally found in breast milk (2’-fucosyllactose human milk oligosaccharides, HMOs). After 6 weeks, babies fed with 2’-FL HMO had nearly the same level of cytokines (which regulates the immune response) than breastfed babies and were less likely to contract infections. Excluding water, HMOs are the third most abundant ingredient in breast milk after fat and carbohydrates, and there HMOs are 100 times more abundant in breast milk than cow’s milk.
University of Granada
New research from the University of Granada, Spain, has shown that breastfed infants born to obese women gain less weight over the first six months of life in comparison to infants fed with formula milk. The study looked at the development of infants at 3, 6, 12, 18 and 24 months of age following WHO criteria. At birth, babies born to obese mothers have a significantly higher weight than those born to healthy women. The researchers observed that breastfed children born to obese women had a lower weight then those who were fed with infant formula.
Western Sydney University
A study conducted by Western Sydney University has concluded that more than 50% of infant feeding bottles have inaccurate or missing markings. The researchers have called for Australia and other countries to introduce and enforce industry standards for bottles. The EU is currently the only region to have implemented standards, but 20% of baby bottles would still fail to meet EU standards.
Scientists at Hasselt University in Belgium have shown that every point increase in a mother’s Body Mass Index before they fall pregnant can cut the equivalent of 18 months off their child’s life expectancy. The most obese women could cut their baby’s life expectancy by 17 years, although this can be partly compensated by a healthy lifestyle. The study also makes clear that babies born to obese mothers may be at greater vulnerability to chronic diseases in adult life.
University of Arkansas
The Arkansas University study claims that a diet heavy in soy protein during early life can protect against serious bone loss during adulthood. Lead research Jin-Ran Chen acknowledged the importance of nutrition in early life from the findings saying “appropriate early life nutrition can optimise peak bone mass”.
Case Western Reserve University
A study conducted by Case Western University warns that the obesity epidemic is leading to a rise in high-risk pregnancies and that the “management of obesity in pregnancy begins before, during and after pregnancy”. Outlining a range of associated problems, the study says obese mothers “may find it more difficult to breastfeed their babies”. The researchers call for a greater focus on pre-pregnancy health but admit it is not yet clear “what lifestyle interventions will work to reduce risk factors to mother and child”.
University College London
New research from University College London has shown that parents should not be blamed for “fussy-eating” toddlers, as food preferences are “largely down” to genes that children inherit. The study acknowledged genes are as influential as environmental factors, with researchers also pointed out that children’s behaviour can be changed.
A study led by Columbia University Medical Center and Turku University in Finland has found a link between the use of anti-depressants in pregnant mothers, especially SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors), to speech and language disorders in their unborn children. Children of mothers who filled a minimum of two prescriptions for SSRIs while pregnant were 37% more likely to have such disorders. Researchers also believe the intake could lead to heart defects and autism in children.
Paediatric Obesity Journal
Data from the Paediatric Obesity Journal shows that children are facing illnesses and shortened lives “because of junk food and the spreading of a fast-food culture”. The figures suggest that by 2025, 268 million school-aged children (aged 5-18) worldwide will suffer from obesity. The article predicts that the UN target to stop the rise of childhood obesity by 2025 would be missed. The UK, along with Egypt, Greece, the US, Saudi Arabia and Mexico, is facing one of the worst scenarios, with the child obesity rate expected to reach 27.7% by 2025.
University of Rochester in New York
A study from the University of Rochester in New York has found that young children with high blood pressure caused by being overweight performed “significantly worse” at academic tests. The research tested the mental abilities of a group of 10 to 18 year-olds and found healthy children performed better at memory tests, thinking speed and verbal skills. Tam Fry from the National Obesity Forum said “A few years ago we assumed loss of brain power was an adult problem brought on by obesity. To have it show up at adolescence is deeply concerning”.
King’s College, London and University of Bristol
New research, conducted at King’s College London and the University of Bristol in the UK, indicates that a diet high in fat and sugar when pregnant could be linked to a child’s chance of having “conduct” problems later in life. Researchers found high-fat, high-sugar processed foods and confectionery products in prenatal diets were closely associated with higher 1GF2 methylation (a gene that impacts foetal development) in kids who show signs of conduct problems early on in life. Essentially, what this is means is that poor nutrition can chemically trigger and incense ADHD symptoms in children, while good nutrition does the opposite; doctors working on this study say that foods including omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and nuts are great for the neural development of an unborn child.
National Diet and Nutrition Survey
The latest UK diet survey shows evidence that consumption of sugar sweetened soft drinks has reduced in children. Mean consumption was significantly lower in children aged 4 to 10 years in Years 5 and 6 (combined) compared with Years 1 and 2 (combined) (100g and 130g respectively).
Research by Leeds University found that just 1.6% of packed lunches for primary school children met tough nutritional standards set for their classmates eating in the school canteen. About half of all primary school pupils take a packed lunch to school. Researchers found that only 1 in 5 lunchboxes contained any vegetables or salad, while 52%-60% contained too many sweet and savoury snacks, or sugary drinks (42%), leading to high levels of saturated fat, sugar and salt and not enough minerals and vitamins. The report recommends that primary schools introduce a policy restricting sweetened drinks and encouraging water, salad and fruit.
Cornell University, US
According to researchers at Cornell University in America, babies as young as a year old are able to pick up on subtle social cues which help them differentiate which foods their families like and dislike. Babies then formulate their own eating habits around what they observe, findings which suggests food selection is based more on social dynamics rather than nutritional needs. Source.
King’s College London and the University of Bristol
Research from King’s College London and the University of Bristol has found that a pregnant mothers’ consumption of high sugar and fat “greatly” influences the mental health of their child. “If proper diet is taken, it will prevent the child from suffering from ADHD and vice-versa”. Lead researcher Edward Barker said “Our finding that poor prenatal nutrition was associated with higher IGF2 methylation highlights the critical importance of a healthy diet during pregnancy. Promoting a healthy prenatal diet may ultimately lower ADHD symptoms and conduct problems in children””.
University of Sao Paulo
The study found that men who eat foods high in fat are raising the odds of their future daughters suffering from breast cancer. The scientists said although males provide half of their baby’s DNA, the effect of their health on their children has been largely overlooked. Through rat-based testing, the study’s authors have found that a male’s diet before conception may have long lasting consequences on the developments of his future offspring.
Sain-Pierre University Hospital, Brussels
Research found that around 35% of expectant mothers have iron deficiency. They point out that such a deficiency can lead to pregnancy complications such as preterm birth or miscarriages.
Technical University of Munich
A study has found that a special diet of omega-rich fish “has no effect on the weight of babies and toddlers”. The study goes on to point that “this proves” earlier findings [on] the hoped-for-benefit of such a diet is questionable as it does not appear to prevent childhood obesity.
Research has discovered that the eating habits of expectant mothers, as well as children, are “fuelling the growing childhood obesity epidemic”. Consuming an unhealthy sugar and fat-laden diet even before conception can cause genetic abnormalities that continue throughout at least three generations.
John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
The research found that the lower a pregnant mother’s folate level, the greater the risk for obesity in a child. The link remained even among obese mothers in the study. When a mother was obese but had adequate folate levels, the child was 43% less likely to become obese.
A study has found that children aged five are eating four times the recommended limit of sugar. The average English schoolchild is consuming 75g of sugar a day – around 19 teaspoons. This Mail article points out that sweet drinks account for 40% of the daily intake – higher than cakes and sweets.
Found that pregnant women who drink fizzy pop with artificial sweeteners every day are more likely to have obese babies. The research also notes that it may be associated with an increased risk of being overweight in early childhood.
Kaiser Permanente Centre for Health Research
The study found that pregnant mothers who put on excessive weight, or have high blood sugars, are more likely to have obese children. The study found the risk applies even to normal weight babies and suggests obesity gets passed on in the womb.
University College London
Detailed research on 2,200 toddlers found that two thirds, at 20 months, are eating 7% more calories than the daily recommended intake, leading towards an obese lifestyle in later life. Almost all toddlers were found to be lacking in vitamin D, fibre and iron while consuming too much protein and salt.
Leeds Beckett University & Association for the Study of Obesity
Study focused on the eating habits of children aged 12 to 18 months. It found that some infants “are given crisps, chips and chocolate before they are even able to chew”. Author of the study, Professor Pinki Sahota, has said of the research, “Low-educated younger mothers tended to be the worst. A lot of them have not got the cooking skills…Older, more educated parents knew the value of fruit and veg…There’s a real need for education. Schools have a role, then midwives, health visitors and local authorities. But they need to be supported by the food industry”.
New England Journal of Medicine
The effects of eating peanut products as a baby to avoid the risk of allergy have been backed up by new research. In 2015 a study claimed early exposure to peanut products could cut the risk of allergy by 80%. Now researchers say “long-lasting” allergy protection can be sustained, even when the snacks are later avoided for a year.
Southampton, Oxford and Sheffield University
Found that taking vitamin D supplements during pregnancy may strengthen the bones of babies born in the winter months. The evidence points to the fact that the supplements counteract the seasonal drop in vitamin D levels caused by the lack of sunlight.
University of Granada & King’s College London
Taking Omega-3 supplements while pregnant may help prevent or reduce the risk of anaemia in newborns. Researchers found that acid from Omega-3 increased the expression of certain genes and regulates iron’s transport through the placenta. It may also improve iron reserves before birth and prevent deficiencies damaging to a baby’s development.
University of Florida
Giving children 10 almonds a day will stop them developing a taste for crisps and similar snacks. Focused primarily on the toddler range, the scientists found the link amongst children aged between 3 and 6.
University of Crete
The research found that high fish consumption during pregnancy increases the chance of a child becoming overweight by more than a fifth. The scientists have said this is because fish contains low levels of pollutants which may alter the hormones of mother and child. Women who ate fish more than three times a week were 14% more likely to have an overweight child at the age of four, and 22% more likely at the age of six.
The international study found that rates of breastfeeding in the UK are the lowest in the world. The statistics found that only one in 200 women – 0.5% – are still breastfeeding after a year. 23% of mothers in Germany are still breastfeeding after a year, 56% of mothers in Brazil and 99% of mothers in Senegal.
Center for Research in Environmental Epidemiology in Barcelona
Researchers found that when mothers eat three sizeable servings of fish each week during pregnancy it may provide benefit to children’s brains for years to come.
University Hospital, La Fe, Valencia
Researchers found that Almond milk can lead to the rare 18th century disease, Scurvy. The scientists warned parents not to replace breast milk or infant formula with the plant-based milk. The infected infant was initially fed formula milk but demonstrated an allergy after two months – he was then given almond milk based formula upon a doctor’s recommendation.
The study found that women who take antidepressants in later stages of pregnancy are more likely to give birth to a child with autism. The study looked into the most common types of the drug and found, during their second and third trimesters of pregnancy, women were twice as likely to have a child diagnosed with autism than those who did not take them.
University College London
The research showed reducing toddler’s portion sizes or number of eating occasions could “potentially” help to target weight gain in later life. Through a study of over 1000 families the authors of the report state “currently there is little guidance for parents of young children on recommended eating frequency and portion sizes, and our research suggests that some parents may need more tailored advice and information if their child is at risk of overeating”.
University of Manitoba
Scientists advised parents to feed their babies foods such as peanuts, wheat and shellfish at the age of four months to help protect them from allergies later in life. The study’s authors also cautioned mothers that breastfeeding would “do nothing” to ward off allergies in their young children. Statistics point out that one child in 20 has at least one food allergy.
University of Manchester
Researchers have found that babies born either very small, or heavier than average, could be more prone to dementia in later life. The University of Manchester studied around 430,000 British adults and suggests that good nutrition in the womb “could be the key to staving off serious illness”.
University of London
The research found that breastfeeding does not improve a child’s intelligence – “despite the widespread belief that ‘breast is best’ for IQ”. Scientists conducted research on 11,000 British children and found no reliable association between breastfeeding and higher IQ at age two. Breastfeeding was also found to not be related to improvements in intelligence as children grow up. The researchers are quoted as saying “breastfeeding has little benefit for early life intelligence and cognitive growth from toddlerhood through adolescence”.
University of Utah
The study has found that women who eat healthier diets in the year leading up to pregnancy may reduce the risk of their babies developing heart problems. The ten year study considered nearly 10,000 children and found that healthier diets reduced the risk of various heart problems by up to 40%.
University of Cambridge
The study suggested that reducing portion sizes offered in supermarkets, restaurants and at home would “help reverse the obesity epidemic”. Their review of 61 studies provides the “most conclusive evidence to date” that portion size affects how much the UK population unwittingly eats. Smaller plates, glasses and cutlery were found to help people eat less.
Archives of Diseases in Childhood Fetal & Neonatal
The study found that women who eat healthily before and during pregnancy may cut the risk of their baby developing a heart problem. The study focused on 19,000 women in the US and found a healthier maternal diet was associated with a lower chance of congenital heart defects.
Harvard School of Public Health
Scientists found that breastfeeding could be exposing babies to dangerous chemicals. It stated that ‘levels of potentially poisonous compounds rose each month the infants were breastfed’. The researchers say the findings do not mean women should not breastfeed, instead, they advise mothers to cut their exposure to harmful chemicals by “avoiding non-stick pans” and regularly vacuuming rooms.
Daily Iodine supplements for pregnant and lactating women could boost their child’s IQ and save the NHS money. The research found that Iodine supplementation could save the NHS £199 per pregnant woman, and the baby’s IQ could increase by 1.22 IQ points. The study points out the benefits of a supplement in healthy brain development but claims the UK population may not be getting enough.
Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
The Australian study provided evidence that young toddlers who eat a range of fruits and vegetables may learn to enjoy healthy eating as they grow older. Researchers found that 14-month-old babies who regularly eat fruit and veg were “more likely to eat them and less likely to be fussy eaters” when they reach four years of age. The study goes on to point out that food preferences are developed as early as the first two years of life.
Medical Research Council Centre
The research warned expectant mothers are more likely to develop weight problems if they overeat while they’re pregnant. Changes to the digestive system from overeating during pregnancy could last until after the baby is born and finished breastfeeding, and make it harder for mothers to lose the weight.
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
The research linked a woman’s diet before she becomes pregnant to the long-term health of her future child. The study also points out that what a mother eats in the weeks leading up to conception could affect her child’s risk of contracting illnesses, ranging from flu and HIV to cancer. Researchers on the study are quoted as saying pre-conception diet is ‘crucial’.