A balanced diet comprising a mix of nutritional foods is important to obtain a healthy body. In the growing up years, it gets even more important to feed the body with foods that help in development and growth of various body parts. Unfortunately, families falling in low-income category are sometimes unable to provide proper nutrition to their children in their toddler years. And, as per a startling revelation made by a group of researchers, toddlers who grow up in homes with such food insecurity are likely to have poor health and developmental problems in future. The findings of the recent study were published in the journal ‘Pediatrics'. It claimed that children with limited access to nutritious foods may have poor overall health in future.
The researchers studied data from five US cities participating in Children's HealthWatch, an ongoing network of paediatric and public health researchers that monitors how economic hardships relate to the healthy development and growth of children. The team collected data from 28,184 children aged from one to four years living in low-income households. They were divided into two groups - from birth to one year and up to four years of age. Around 27 per cent of the participants lived with families facing food insecurity. Out of them, more than 13 per cent were in extremely deprived households with child food insecurity.
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The team recorded food security based on interviews with mothers of the children conducted by the Children's HealthWatch. They discovered that food insecurity was associated with significantly increased risks of a child developing poor overall health and delayed development of the body, especially in children of ages up to four.
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Study leader Maureen Black, Professor at University of British Columbia said, "We did find, however, that growing up in a low-income community -- typically with a lack of access to healthy grocery stores, an overabundance of fast food chains, and few safe areas to play outdoors - increased a pre-schooler's risk of developing obesity regardless of food security. This is quite alarming and indicates a significant public health issue."