Thursday, August 9, 2012

Dr. Christine Wood - The Nutritional Needs of Children

Dr. Christine Wood
A few nights ago I listened to an extremely informative talk via the web by Dr. Christine Wood a pediatrician who practices in San Diego, California. She is the author of  "How To Get Kids To Eat Great & Love It". A native of Michigan she reminisced about the juicy, sweet apples that she enjoyed in her childhood while comparing the tasteless and dry apples obtained in the super market today. Since 1951 apples have lost half of their iron content, broccoli half its calcium, and potatoes nearly all vitamin A. The RDAs or recommended daily allowance as of 1995 were insufficient and that is almost 20 years ago. We are not keeping up with the nutritional needs of our children as a nation.This testimony brought to life the salient facts that she brought to our attention regarding the nutritional deficiencies in our youngest population. She also offered suggestions on how to counteract these findings by optimal supplementation. She is a member of Usana's Scientific Advisory Council.

Consider the following:

1. Only 30% of U.S. medical schools offer separate courses on nutrition. On average, a medical students receives under 23.4 hours of instruction on nutrition. ( Staggering compared to the number of years it will take them to matriculate and the years spent in practice).
Topics touched upon are diseases of yesteryear like scurvy - (you know the pirate and seaman's disease caused by a lack of Vitamin C)  which is rarely seen today. In other words none of the issues that face people in contemporary North America are being taught. It's going to be difficult to deal with problems if you don't even know what they are, where they come from let alone how to recognize them. 
2.
Doctors are no longer the primary source of nutritional information for the general public. We are getting information from health food stores, magazines, TV, and friends.

Nutritional Risks for Kids

Getting back to apples, Dr. Wood pointed out what should be a red flag. There is still only one fruit and vegetable aisle in super markets where the majority of Americans shop while the cookie and snack aisles have expanded. Americans are eating more processed foods made from processed corn which does little for their nutritional intake while increasing caloric intake. With the amount of GMO corn flooding the market this is alarming indeed.
* 1 and 4 teens eat less than a fruit per day and even less consume fresh vegetables or 1 in 3.
* Contrary to popular belief ketchup is not a vegetable nor are processed french fries.
* TV watching during dinner. 66% of Americans eat dinner while watching TV.
What does this have to do with nutrition? The focus is off the food and chewing slowly. Digestive problems can be avoided when a mindful peaceful routine with members of the family are established. Engaging in conversation, inquiring after each others well being -  in short bonding help divert problems down the road. The average parent only spends just  38 minutes per week talking to their child. Not 38 minutes per day but 38 per week! Family meals reduce risky behavior.
* The average lunch time for teenagers at school is only 7 to 11 minutes meaning they eat everything in that time frame. Is there any wonder digestion or  lack of energy is an issue?

Trends Media Multi Tasking

Another trend is what Dr. Wood called Media Multi Tasking. Kids are on facebook, texting on their phone and listening to iTunes while doing homework. The average time a teen spends on media is ten hours per day. The stats show that this has increased from  6.5 hours in 2005 to 7.8 hours in 2010 daily ranging in ages from 8 to 18 years. This was a real eye opener for me. I wondered have all children ceased to play outside getting the fresh air, exercise and social interaction they need? If they are spending that much time inside,  the following statistics on the "sunshine vitamin' Vtamin D  made sense.

 What's Missing in Your Childs Diet? 

Dr. Wood revealed the alarmingly low amounts of Vitamin D in the blood of infants and bigger kids in the USA.  

* 7 out 10  children are not getting sufficient Vitamin D even in sunny San Diego where she has her practice.
* These deficiencies are showing up in breast milk as women are in the majority of cases deficient.
* While it is important to wear sunblock note it should be applied after the first half hour giving the body a chance to manufacture D. (Very small children should not be left out in the sun). These days Vitamin D is being recommended for infants such Baby D drops by mixing 1 drop a day in breast milk.
* Inadequate D contributes to wheezing or asthma in infants and children. In a study a group deficient in D were followed into adulthood. There was an increased mortality rate of 26%  or in other words premature deaths due to disease.
Vitamin E
 * 91% of children don't have adequate levels of Vitamin E. E is important as it is required for infant brain development and visual acuity. While it may not guarantee perfect vision  ocular development  is a barometer of the development of the brain. Healthy brain development = Higher problem solving scores.
* Fish oil improves  eye and  hand coordination.
For small children Dr. Wood recommends squeezing USANA's triple distilled mercury free Biomega  into a smooth food. Think of 1 capsule 3 or more times a week.
Omega 3 vs Omega 6
Mediterranean diet is heart healthy. Omega 6 (found in corn) tend to be pro inflammatory and I would add the corn of today is a far cry of the corn the natives cultivated here so lovingly. Our soil is not the same and the addition of aggressive pesticides and fungicides add a dimension that is undesireable.  So while fresh corn on the cob may be fine,  the rows and rows of processed foods that contain depleted corn products is not. It is also fed to our livestock instead of the traditional grasses.
Stress Diabetes Cancer
In the year 2000 Type 2 diabetes affected 1 out of 3 children  1 in 2 for males
In the year 1900 cancer risk was 1 in 33.
Environmental toxins are a huge issue and antioxidants can combat this.
Interestingly, childhood stresses resurface later transforming into disease later in life.
Stressed out moms over feed babies. Anxiety and  depression  leads to weight gain and intoxicants.
It serves everyone when mothers take time off to take care of themselves. Conversely it is not hard to imagine a mother medicating herself and child through over eating.
Probiotics  have positive health benefits on gastro intestinal tract, inflammatory bowel syndrome, eczema, and colic in infants.

*Using probiotic can reduce the crying in  babies by 74%
*Safe for 1 to 2 month old children
* Use a partial sachet and it can be mixed with breast milk.
* Gestational diabetes seems to be reduced with the use of probiotics.


Given this state of affairs Dr Wood suggested that parents give kids Usanimals. It contains Xylitol which is a natural sweetener occurring in fruit that may prevent ear infections in children. It contains raspberry, cranberry,wild blueberry, and blackberry powders. Free of artificial colors and flavors it supplies what a growing body needs to stay well and is recommended to children between the ages of 24 months and 12 years. It includes vitamins A, C, E and zinc for healthy immune function.Starting a local food coop, supporting your farmers market or starting a garden patch in your backyard and involving your kids is a wonderful way to reconnect with your families nutritional needs in a fun and all engaging way.
You can visit Dr. Woods site KidsEatGreat and sign up for her newsletter! She is a wonderful source of information who cares deeply.

1 comment:

  1. Every mother would benefit from this really informative post.

    ReplyDelete