10:18 22 February 2011
Children in the UK are risking serious illnesses later in life because of poor diet and nutrition while they are young, an important new study published on behalf of the Health Supplements Information Service (HSIS) has found.
Nutritionist Dr Carrie Ruxton explains below:
Health experts are warning that all too many British youngsters face a ticking health time bomb because of high intakes of saturated fat, salt and sugar and inadequate amounts of essential vitamins and minerals and essential fatty acids from oil rich fish. While the researchers found that on average diets have improved in recent years, they say that there are still major nutritional problems that were cause for concern and need addressing urgently.
Proper nutrition in childhood is essential for growth, development and long-term health into adulthood. There is mounting evidence that problems with child nutrition can significantly contribute to chronic and degenerative diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
In addition, poor diets and too little exercise have led to childhood obesity, with figures showing that one in 10 youngsters in school reception classes (aged 4 to 5) are obese, and this increases to 18% of those in year 6 (aged 10 to 11). Similarly, dental decay and even type 2 diabetes are becoming more of a problem in children.
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