Healthy diets 'are set early in life'

5 August 2014

Promoting a healthy diet from infancy is the most important way to prevent childhood obesity and the onset of chronic disease, according to a new study published in the latest issue of Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.

The study, led by Rebecca Byrne from Queensland University of Technology, described the quantity and diversity of food and drinks consumed by children aged 12-16 months.

Ms Byrne noted that 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," she elaborated.

Although most toddlers were consuming a diverse diet, the amount and type of meat or meat alternatives was poor, with almost all children consuming foods considered completely unnecessary at this age, such as sweet biscuits, the expert added.

Posted by Jeanette Royston​

 

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