A Parent’s Diet Affects A Child’s Health

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A report by University of Southampton in the United Kingdom links poor diets in mothers and the resulting ill health in their children either prospective children or those already born. This makes sense to me and I think this is nothing new but let’s take a look to see if there is anything new in this study.

The report Early Nutrition and Lifelong Health was published by the British Medical Association Board of Science. It talks about the evidence that the diets of women who are still in their childbearing years have a huge impact on whether their children will get diabetes, heart disease, and even some types of cancer and mental illness. That is a new one for me. That means the researchers are linking diet to mental health.

Lead author Professor Mark Hanson, director of the Center for the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease at the University of Southampton, states, “Society and public health organizations need to pay much greater attention to these issues if the rising epidemic of these diseases is to be prevented. Tackling the diseases once children reach adulthood is often too late. By taking steps to improve maternal nutrition we could save many people from a lifetime of ill health.

Diets that are not balanced whether that means that you are eating too much or too little or that the quality and choices you make in what you eat is not good can have a long-term effect on your children.

The findings urge women to breastfeed for a longer period of time and to breast feed rather than bottle feed. This is a pet peeve of mine because I’ve looked at the research and I’m still not convinced of the correlation but that’s another essay.

Interestingly fingers are pointed at the dads as well and prospective dads like prospective moms. They should eat well and steps need to be taken to ensure that young people understand the importance of good nutrition as part of their lifestyle choices.

More advice could be given to people with young children about the importance of a balanced diet for those children and more support could be given to women to help them start breastfeeding and to continue with it.

The research was funded in part by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and Professor Hanson’s co-authors are Professor Caroline Fall, Dr Sian Robinson and Dr Janis Baird of the MRC Epidemiology Research Centre at the University of Southampton.

Did you or I learn anything new with this published study? I learned that according to these researchers a bad diet may mean you or your kids will be crazy and that dads’ eating habits are as important as mom’s eating habits.