There Should Be No Such Inhumane Approaches To Children

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There Should Be No Such Inhumane Approaches To Children
There Should Be No Such Inhumane Approaches To Children

Video: There Should Be No Such Inhumane Approaches To Children

Video: There Should Be No Such Inhumane Approaches To Children
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There should be no such inhumane approaches to children

According to the Union of Pediatricians of Russia, many families too quickly transfer babies over 1 year old to the "common table" and feed them what is "at hand". The head of the department told MedNews about how to properly feed a no longer breastfeeding, but still very small and vulnerable child. Department of Nutrition for Healthy and Sick Child of the Scientific Center of Children's Health, Professor Tatiana Borovik.

"There should be no such inhumane approaches to children"
"There should be no such inhumane approaches to children"

According to the Union of Pediatricians of Russia, many families unjustifiably quickly transfer babies over 1 year old to a "common table" and feed them what is "at hand". Doctors themselves do not pay enough attention to the nutrition of children. The National Program for Optimizing the Nutrition of Children aged 1 to 3 in the Russian Federation, adopted at the end of last year, is intended to change this situation. Head of the Department of Nutrition for a Healthy and Sick Child of the Federal State Budgetary Institution Scientific Center for Children's Health of the Ministry of Health of Russia, professor, Ph. D. Tatiana Borovik.

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Tatyana Eduardovna, why did it become necessary to adopt such a program?

- The first 1000 days of a child's life is a critical period when nutrition and other external factors program his future health. The nutrition of an unborn child, baby and toddler up to two or three years old seriously affects the metabolic processes occurring in his body. Caused by an unbalanced, unreasonable diet (primarily, an excess or deficiency of protein), disorders can be very persistent and even be inherited in the future.

Unfortunately, much attention is paid to the nutrition of children mainly only in the first year of life. Of course, there are many problems here as well. This is not widespread breastfeeding, and improperly organized artificial feeding (in some regions, even cow's milk is used for this) and great difficulties with complementary foods, when the timing and sequence of product introduction are violated - everything that can cause alimentary-dependent diseases. In 2009, the Union of Pediatricians of Russia developed a program for doctors that gives an answer to the question from a modern standpoint: "How to feed children of the first year of life?" We have collected all the foreign experience available to us and summarized our own. This program has entered our daily life and has brought certain positive results.

Read more: Breastfeeding is good for both baby and mother

The results of two studies have been published at once, confirming the importance of breastfeeding not only for the child, but also for the mother. It turned out that breastfeeding mothers were less likely to develop cancer and diabetes than those who, for whatever reason, refused to breastfeed.

However, the nutrition of older children - from one to three years - has received very little attention so far. Epidemiological studies of recent years (2006, 2011–2012), conducted in Russia, indicate that due to imbalance in nutrition in children, there are risks of anemia, decreased immunity and disorders of the digestive system. And from 25 to 27% of children already at this age are overweight, as the threshold of future obesity.

What are the main mistakes of parents and shortcomings of pediatricians when transferring a child to "adult" food?

“In our study, we analyzed the responses of 1,000 parents and the opinions of 1,000 doctors on nutritional issues from one to three years. And it turned out that, firstly, children are very quickly transferred to the common ordinary family table - literally right after the year. In this case, not at all children's, not healthy products are used. These are convenience foods, sausages, fast food, carbonated drinks, chocolate and other sweets that children do not need at all.

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At the same time, important foods such as vegetables and fruits, which are sources of dietary fiber and vitamin C, are often overlooked. Not enough children get meat, and very little fish. Two out of three children in Russia from one to two years old receive insufficient iron in their diet. Insufficient intake of calcium, vitamin D, zinc, iodine, polyunsaturated fatty acids and other nutrients was also found.

In general, babies are very often overfed. As a result of this imbalance, children's diets contain 27% more protein and 22-25% more fat than the recommended norm.

Read More: Obese Children May Reach 75 Million By 2025

The World Health Organization (WHO) has named childhood obesity as one of the most serious public health problems of the 21st century.

At the same time, if our doctors understand the principles of rational nutrition quite well, then on the question of when to transfer the child to a common table, their opinions were divided. Some believe that this should be done immediately after a year, others - after two years, and still others - only after three. As for the parents, more than half of them admitted that, being satisfied with the advice of doctors, they did not use it in practice. Someone followed their own considerations, and someone did follow the lead of the children.

Of course, a lot depends on each specific family. If a family adheres to a healthy diet without ketchup, mayonnaise, fries and spicy and salty dishes, then from one and a half to two years, the child can be gradually taught to the common table. But there are few such families, and it is better not to put the child at risk of developing digestive dysfunctions by offering him foods that do not meet the needs of the body.

At this age, the child continues to actively grow and develop, and the functions of his internal organs and systems - to improve. Therefore, he needs to receive a sufficient amount of all nutrients, and in the correct ratio. Adult products cannot fulfill this task: with them, the baby receives some components in excess, and others in insufficient quantities.

How do different types of family eating behavior affect children? Such as the very common vegetarianism, raw food diet, and fasting in modern young families?

We consider vegetarianism unacceptable for children of the first three years of life. The child should eat rationally, receive a variety of foods, including those of animal origin. Animal protein is amino acids that are very important for the structure of organs and systems. And meat is practically the only source of heme iron, which affects the development of the brain and cognitive functions. And by depriving a child of meat, we initially put him in a difficult position, harm his intellectual development, which will be difficult to restore later. Meat also contains vitamin B12. Fish is a source of polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin D. Dairy products provide calcium and B2 vitamins. And if parents are promoting vegetarianism and do not want to make exceptions for the child,then they should give the child the missing trace elements in the form of chemical preparations - by mouth or intramuscularly. And then they can choose what is best for the child.

Vegetarianism is also not beneficial during pregnancy. The same iron and long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids must be supplied in utero to the fetus from the mother. Iron depot filling and brain formation are largely dependent on the presence of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Iron depot accumulates in the child's body in the last 2-3 months of pregnancy, therefore premature babies are practically deprived of these depots, have a risk of developing anemia and need earlier complementary foods. In full-term babies, the iron depot is depleted by the end of the first six months of life. Therefore, in our first National Program, we recommend introducing complementary foods between 4 and 6 months. At this age, the child grows and develops rapidly, becomes active and needs additional energy. In the same nutrients: iron, zinc, calcium and protein.

As for fasting, it is the exclusion of many foods from the diet, which is just as bad for a child as vegetarianism. It is known that in pre-revolutionary Russia, they began to feed children only on the third day after birth, and did not give dairy products during fasting. And as a result of malnutrition and infections, only 25 out of 100 children survived to one year. Therefore, I repeat, there should not be such inhumane approaches to children.

This also applies to the raw food diet. The digestive organs, their functions are actively formed in a child up to 5-7 years old. And the passion for raw food will lead to the fact that the pancreas will be irritated, diarrhea will begin - intestinal enzymes will not be able to cope with such a large load on them. The digestive system of the child requires that the food is cooked - boiled, steamed. By the age of three, you can start giving baked food.

That is, if a child grows up in an ordinary family, not fond of "food" experiments, and he is not fed with "adult" salads and sausages, then you can not worry about him?

- Not so simple. For example, in our study, we looked at how much iron is in the average diet of children. And they saw that, while the norm is 10 mg of iron per day, most children received 7-9 mg. That is, the usual diet from natural products still does not provide the need for iron.

Little in the diet of children and vitamin D. This vitamin is not only formed in the skin under the influence of the sun, but also comes from food. The main food source of vitamin D, as well as polyunsaturated fatty acids, which also affect the brain and immunity, is primarily fish. In our Program, it is recommended to give children from one to three years of age fish 2-3 times a week (the total amount should be about 200 g per week). But, unfortunately, we rarely use fish in our baby food. Therefore, the lack of vitamin D must be compensated for by preparations containing this vitamin.

In addition, the natural foods we feed our children do not meet their high micronutrient needs. The same apple or cereals today already contain not so much nutrients as 30-40 years ago. This is due to modern intensive technologies. If we take, for example, wild and cultivated oranges, the vitamin C content in them will vary significantly.

Natural products today have reduced the content of micronutrients that we need so much. Therefore, for many years abroad, the enrichment of food products with vitamin C, iodine, calcium has been developed, vitamin and mineral nutritional supplements are used. This is not widely practiced here.

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But children begin to receive sweets already literally from the second half of their life, and they eat a lot of them.

But industrial products are always more suspicious than natural products. People are afraid that they will do more harm than good

Indeed, there were a lot of questions specifically for this section of our program. But all over the world, specialized industrial food products for young children are used precisely because they are prepared from environmentally friendly raw materials, and modern cooking technologies guarantee their quality and safety. Most importantly, they are enriched with micronutrients that young children need.

These products are enriched with vitamins, minerals, pre- or probiotics. In particular, these include the 3rd and 4th infant formula, specialized cereals. In addition, such products are healthier for the child than whole cow's milk, which is high in protein, which provokes a certain risk of developing all kinds of metabolic disorders. Overweight in children in the first years of life is also associated with a high intake of milk protein. Therefore, in specialized mixtures, the protein content is slightly reduced.

But, unfortunately, as our survey has shown, if parents know about specialized cereals and feed their children with them, then specialized milk formulas are not yet actively used. We do not have a culture of using functional foods, including those fortified with micronutrients, which does not allow us to maintain the health of an adult at the proper level. But at least we must feed the children in such a way that they enter into adulthood healthy.