During several of our recent meetings with doctors at seminars, the topic of metabolic-associated diseases and conditions in children was raised. In general, experts agree that poor nutrition causes many diseases that need to be treated. And in this case, unlike prevention, simple correction of lifestyle and diet will not be enough, because the organs and systems of the child's body have already undergone structural changes. It is not only about obesity, but also about arterial hypertension, gastrointestinal diseases, endocrine diseases, hepatosis.
Scientists from the United States have studied how the nutrition of pregnant and breastfeeding mothers affects the health of the child.
The results were interesting. The purpose of the study was to assess the impact of the so-called ultra-processed food in the mother's diet on the child's health.
Almost 20,000 mother-child pairs with an average follow-up period of 4 years became the study participants. The scientists evaluated the family's eating habits, physical activity, and co-morbidities.
On average, 12% of children became overweight, but in the study cohort where mothers consumed ultra-processed food, this percentage was more than 26%. This association did not change with age, gender, birth weight, or mother's weight.
The researchers concluded that maternal consumption of ultra-processed foods during the child-rearing period was associated with an increased risk of overweight or obesity in the offspring, independent of maternal and offspring lifestyle risk factors.
Ultra-processed foods are foods and beverages that have undergone special treatment of nutritional components, typically these foods are designed to be convenient, on-the-go, highly palatable and attractive to consumers, and most importantly, to be the most profitable through the low cost of the ingredients. These include sweet carbonated drinks, packaged snacks, confectionery, mass-produced bread, semi-finished meat, poultry, fish, cheese, etc. In the manufacture of such products, food ingredients are subjected to processing - extrusion, hydrogenation and hydrolysis are used, sweeteners, preservatives, flavor enhancers, dyes and flavorings are added. However, these products do not contain whole foods.