Tag Archives: childhood nutrition recommendations

Childhood Nutrition Improving in U.S. (Article)

Finally some good news about childhood nutrition in the United States; children are eating more fruit! Recently published statistics from the Center for Disease Control show the daily intake of fruit by U.S. children has increased by 67% in the past 10 years. Even better, a drastic shift has occurred between the amount of fruit juice consumed and actual whole fruits. Fruit juice has seen a 30% decline in consumption, and whole fruit consumption increased proportionally. This is an important trend since dieticians and nutritionists strongly recommend a child consume whole fruit instead of fruit juices to lower the child’s sugar intake and afford them the full benefit of other nutrients found in whole fruit.

 

Other news in the same report is not as encouraging–even though fruit juice consumption is down and whole fruit consumption has risen among US children, diets among children remain critically deficient in both whole fruits and especially vegetables. The Vital Signs study, conducted by the CDC, revealed that children still aren’t reaching the ideal level of fruit intake, and vegetable intake is looking even more dismal. Though fruit intake doubled during the study period, only 40% of children were getting the recommended fruit intake and a dismal 7% were getting the recommended vegetable intake. Vegetables and fruits supply vital nutrients to a developing child, ensuring that they grow healthy and strong.

 

So how do we continue to improve healthy eating habits in today’s children? Since 60 million kids spend much of every day in schools and daycares, the CDC recommends that these institutions begin implementing healthier eating options as a force for change. The CDC suggests that school districts and childcare centers begin training their food preparation workers on ways to make fruits and vegetables more tasty, and provide educational nutritional programs that make fruits and vegetables fun. Ultimately, a child’s parents play the most critical role in encouraging the consumption of vegetables. If parents committed themselves to eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables themselves, involving their children in shopping for whole food, teaching their children how to cook, and involving them in growing their own produce, many of the problems we see with the terrible diet many American children eat would quickly become a bad memory. Let your kids get their hands in some dirt, learn to shop for fresh produce, and sauté some vegetables, so they can be healthy eaters!

Your comments are welcome at www.docsmo.com. Until next time.

 

Smo Notes:

1.http://pediatrics.about.com/cs/weeklyquestion/l/blask_050802.htm

  1. http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2014/p0805-fruits-vegetables.html

Written collaboratively by Keri Register and Paul Smolen M.D.

 

The China Study (Book Review Pedcast)

 

Feeding your children the healthiest diet possible is the goal of every parent but exactly what is a healthy diet? Answering that question is the reason that we at the DocSmo.com blog thought a book review of a major new book on nutrition might be helpful to parents.  The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell, PhD and Thomas M. Campbell II, MD, is a cumulative work based on the findings from  careers in nutritional research and medicine.  A myriad of research is discussed in the book but the core conclusions are derived from a longitudinal (20 year) study called “The China Study” in which researchers from Cornell University, Oxford University, and the Chinese Academy of Preventative Medicine collected data from 65 counties in 24 provinces in China, comparing diet, lifestyle, and disease characteristics in this huge population.  (The New York Times called this data “The Grand Prix” of epidemiological studies when the results were first published in the early 1990s.) The father and son team of Drs. Campbell digest the China study data and a wealth of other scientific observations. Their main conclusion is that populations consuming the most animal-based foods are afflicted with the most chronic Western diseases. The China Study therefore advocates for a diet that consists exclusively of whole plant-based foods as well as discussing the science behind this conclusion, barriers to its introduction in the American diet, and lifestyle tips for readers ready to transition to this nutritional mindset and lifestyle.

Similar to many books on nutrition, the authors start with an overview of the problems related to childhood and adult obesity and chronic disease in the United States. This highlights the general confusion that many feel with an overwhelming amount of  health and nutrition information. This book may provide a useful guide for providing better nutrition for their children. Their goal is to clarify confusion by referencing sound scientific data, instead of providing the latest sensation in rapid weight-loss. They seek to demonstrate a strong connection between eating animal protein and the high incidence of chronic disease plaguing Western societies; cancer, diabetes, and coronary heart disease.  The authors continue with manageable chapters about the nutrition science and mechanisms of disease.  The authors believe that the consumption of animal protein trigger breast and prostate cancers, cause obesity that is at the root of adult onset diabetes, and contributes to diseases of the heart and blood vessels.  The book  highlights the correlation between nutrition and disease, citing a wealth of scientific evidence.

In our opinion, the useful sections in the book are right in the middle, where the authors list eight principles of how to rethink nutrition and provide an eating guide for parents and children. Aside from eliminating all animal products and minimizing added vegetable oils such as peanut or olive oil, he encourages plants and whole grains. The authors are especially harsh on added supplements, believing that a sound diet should provide individuals with everything they need, except for a nod to vitamin D for children and adults who spend the majority of their time indoors and vitamin B12. The last third of the book discusses with the barriers to adopting this way of eating, exposing some startling realities of powerful lobbying groups and their influence on formulating government dietary recommendations.

Overall, this book highlights the important relationship between nutrition and chronic disease. If the authors are right, our health and the future health of our children depend on us adopting a plant-based diet, now.  It promotes a whole-grain, plant-based diet in order to avoid chronic disease, and reverse them once they have developed.  This book presents sound scientific data based on decades of biochemical research and explains the science behind the studies in a clear and manageable way. As the authors say, they take us where the data leads.  To be clear, this book is not a weight-loss solution or another fad diet.  It is a scholarly look at decades of research illuminating the connection between poor nutrition and incidence of chronic diseases. Despite its length and complexity, we would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in diet as it relates to your children’s long-term health. The authors believe that not only can diseases like cancer, heart disease, and adult onset diabetes be prevented in our children with a plant-based “vegan” diet, but that these diseases can be REVERSED with food after they have developed.  The Dr. Campbell father/son team challenge traditional nutrition teaching which advocates a diet rich in animal based protein and dairy foods, vitamin and mineral supplements, and often diets with an imbalanced nutrient profile such as the “Atkins” diet.  The authors claim that a completely plant based diet is the key to prevention of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.  Time will tell us if they are right.  Pass the broccoli, please. We give this book 4 out of 5 DocSmo stars.  Until next time.

Written collaboratively by Angela Solis and Paul Smolen M.D.