Thursday, March 19, 2009

Strong Links Between Mothers' Diets And Health Of Their Children

ScienceDaily (Mar. 19, 2009) — A new report by University of Southampton academics emphasises the links between poor diet in mothers and ill health in their children, and calls for women of childbearing age to be made more aware of the importance of good nutrition.

The report "Early Nutrition and Lifelong Health," published this month by the British Medical Association Board of Science, looks at the evidence that the diets of women of reproductive age, and those of their foetuses and young children, are significant factors in influencing the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, brittle bone disease and even some forms of cancer and mental illness, later in those children's lives.

Lead author Professor Mark Hanson, director of the Centre for the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease at the University of Southampton, comments: "Society and public health organisations need to pay much greater attention to these issues if the rising epidemic of these diseases is to be prevented. Tackling the diseases once children reach adulthood is often too late. By taking steps to improve maternal nutrition we could save many people from a lifetime of ill health."
According to the authors, unbalanced nutrition, whether too much or too little or of poor quality, can have long-term effects. In the UK, for example, many have diets low in certain nutrients although they have access to plentiful food.
"It's not only women who need to be careful about they quality of their food intake. Prospective fathers should also eat well and steps need to be taken to ensure that young people understand the importance of good nutrition as part of their lifestyle choices."
The report is available at

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