Picky eating in children: Should we be concerned?
’Picky eating’ is a loosely used term to describe features such as having a small appetite (eating small or perceived small quantities of food), being selective about the types of foods eaten, and fussy mealtime behaviours. Studies have shown that picky eaters tend to have lower intake of meat and protein-rich foods, less vegetables and less energy from mixed dishes. Picky eaters also tend to have a lower overall food consumption and skewed nutritional intake because of the lack of variety in the food they eat. Thus, these children tend to have lower mean BMI, were more often underweight and tend to have micronutrient deficiencies. One of the important factors in managing picky eaters is the relationship between the child and the parent or caregiver at mealtimes. Clinicians should remind parents to cultivate good eating behaviours and provide a pleasant environment for meals and snacks. Children with picky eating behaviours should be closely monitored to ensure adequate nutrition to support the rapid growth and development that occur during infancy and early childhood. It is well known that early nutritional status is linked to health later in life; appropriate dietary intake throughout childhood is critical in reducing the risk of noncommunicable diseases.
Growth monitoring during the early years
Growth is an indicator of health and nutritional status. Notably, it has been reported that about 30% of Singaporean parents were unable to correctly gauge whether their child was underweight or overweight based on body mass index (BMI). This is a concern because when a normal weight infant or child is perceived by its parents to be underweight, there is a tendency to overfeed, potentially putting the child at risk of obesity. Growth monitoring helps ensure that children receive adequate and appropriate nutrition to support optimum growth and development. Children with non-organic feeding disorders (NOFEDs) should be supplied with adequate calories, protein, and other nutrients (nutritional rehabilitation). In children with NOFEDs, oral nutritional supplementation (ONS) can also help if they are unable to meet their nutritional requirements with normal foods alone. Energy- and nutrient-enriched infant formulas have been shown to improve nutrient intake, weight gain and linear growth.
Overview of GDM Management in Singapore
The prevalence of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) in Singapore is on the rise and the complications of GDM may have long-term health impacts on a woman and her child. Professor Tan Kok Hian, vice president, Perinatal Society of Singapore, urges the healthcare professionals to play their part to improve the pre- and post-delivery care for our Singaporean mothers and children.
Nutritional Approaches to GDM Prevention
Dr Irma Silva-Zolezzi, head of Nestlé Research Singapore Hub shares insights on the latest evidence on the role of nutritional interventions in preventing and managing gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). Dietary management with exercise remains the primary management for GDM. Compelling evidence has shown that novel ingredients such as inositol and probiotics may positively support a healthy pregnancy, especially for those women at risk of GDM.
Child's risk of obesity influenced by changes in genes
A child's risk of obesity as they grow up can be influenced by modifications to their DNA prior to birth, a new University of Southampton study has shown. These changes, known as epigenetic modifications, control the activity of our genes without changing the actual DNA sequence. One of the main epigenetic modifications is DNA methylation, which plays a key role in the development of the embryo and the formation of different cell types, regulating when and where genes are switched on.
Diet high in vitamin C could protect against gestational diabetes
Pregnant women who incorporate more vitamin C into their diets are at lower risk for developing gestational diabetes than those with insufficient or even adequate dietary vitamin C intake, according to findings published in Clinical Nutrition.
Longer pregnancies & bigger babies: RCT supports omega-3s birth weight benefits for babies
Consumption of fish oil omega-3s during the third trimester of pregnancy may prolong gestation and increase birth weights of the newborns, according to a new double-blind randomized controlled trial.