New report on emerging evidence in childhood nutrition

06 October 2016
child eating

A new report on optimal health for children in New Zealand has identified key areas of emerging evidence in the field of childhood nutrition.

The review was conducted by Otago University researchers for the Ministry of Health and is called: “Pathways to child health, development and wellbeing.”

It looks at three key areas of childhood development including relationships, the physical environment and nutrition.

The report highlights recent research about childhood nutrition and details the following areas of interest:  

  • The re-emergence of rickets in certain populations due to low Vitamin D levels

  • The influence of a mother’s weight, before pregnancy and during pregnancy, on a child’s metabolism

  • The need for more supportive environments to encourage breastfeeding in disadvantaged communities

  • The role of the duration and exclusivity of breastfeeding on a child’s risk of obesity and infection

  • The rise of baby-led weaning and the potential for this to promote satiety and healthy eating in babies

  • Exposure to a variety of flavours early in life to encourage the consumption of a wide variety of foods later in life

  • The influence of breakfast in ensuring children are a healthy weight and have adequate micronutrient intake

  • The role of junk food promotion to children and the effect the food environment has on their eating habits.

The report concludes that healthy nutritional environments along with the quality of early relationships (in particular attachment) and the programming of the stress response are key foundation experiences. 

The authors say that influences in these areas during sensitive periods in early life have enduring effects across multiple domains of health and wellbeing throughout a child’s life.

You can read the full report here.