Studies Show Why A Healthy Diet Is Especially Important for Children

8/1/2012 10:03 AM


Recently, guest bloggers Dr. Richard Reiss and Dr. John DeSesso described several studies which showed the importance of pregnant women consuming a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.  But there are also numerous studies that show the importance of a healthy diet among toddlers and children.  Below are just a couple of examples.

Children who lack access to healthy foods, particularly fruit and vegetables, are twice as likely to develop behavioral problems, according to an April 2011 peer-reviewed study from the Queensland University Technology Institute of Health.  Food insecure households were between 25 percent and 40 percent less likely to consume the recommended servings of fruit and between 15 percent and 25 percent less likely to consume adequate servings of vegetables. The study found that children are two and half times more likely to display behavioral problems if they live in a food insecure household. 

Toddlers who have a diet high in processed foods may have a slightly lower IQ in later life, according to a British peer-reviewed study described as the biggest research effort of its kind. The 20 percent of children who ate the most processed food had an average IQ of 101 points, compared with 106 for the 20 percent of children who ate the most "health-conscious" foods.   The study was published in February 2011 and conducted by the University of Bristol, School of Social and Community Medicine.

With food costs projected to rise, efforts to increase fruit and vegetable consumption among low income populations could continue to be challenging.  Safety fears advanced by activists groups, like the Environmental Working Group, have also been shown to have a negative effect on consumer’s consumption habits, especially among low income consumers. 

But, with EWG’s recent and strong statement about their belief in the safety of eating both conventional and organic produce and the need to eat more, the Alliance is hopeful that they will abandon using their past negative and misleading messages concerning safety and “dirty” produce.  It’s just time to do the right thing and focus on helping to improve the diets of Americans, not denigrate and disparage the very foods that  scientists have proven we should be eating more of for better health. 


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