In a recent study published by The Lancent Medical Journal, summarized on the CBC website, a clear link has been shown between food additives and preservatives and hyperactivity in children. While confirming something parents have suspected for some time, what is important to note is that hyperactivity in children has been associated with the development of learning difficulties, particularly in regards to reading.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) publishes a list of recalls and allergy alerts on their website. With the CFIA typically logging over a dozen alerts each month, parents and caregivers should check the site regularly to ensure that their food supply is free of harmful substances.
From a nutritional standpoint, it is highly advisable to limit or remove additives and preservatives in children's diets which, unfortunately, is found in a large number of products at present, often in concealed forms. Innocuous-seeming products such as yogurt, fish sticks and bottled beverages may contain one or more of these harmful chemicals. Check your labels carefully and err on the side of caution when buying your foods.
Stated on the Health Canada website, childhood obesity is on the rise, appearing to be related to sendentary lifestyles, and likely exacerbated by poor diet. Simple changes in diet, coupled with a healther lifestyle and a child's naturally high metabolism, can do wonders to relieve children of this ailment which is simply inappropriate for our youngsters.
According to the same website, life-threatening allergies are also on the rise. While there is no clear link between nutrition and allergies, some suggest that chemicals found in our food supply contribute to this problem and can be addressed by a diet consisting of more natural food choices. This extends far beyond simply selecting organic options at the grocery store, requiring a more detailed knowledge of the food chain from the source to your mouth.
In a recent article, the Canadian Pediatric Society have recommended that pregnant and breastfeeding women consume ten times the amount of vitamin D currently recommended by Health Canada. Their opinion is based on a growing body of research which suggests an association between timely vitamin D consumption and a decrease in certain diseases for the offspring later in life.
Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, is naturally received through exposure to sunlight as well as being contained in numerous foods. Please follow all precautions when exposing your children to the sun.
When babies consume insufficient quantities of iron they may develop anemia, a condition characterized pale skin complexion, slow or no weight gain, irritability and poor appetite. Health Canada has published a Dietary Reference Intake Guide to delineate the elements necessary throughout the lifecycle for proper health.
It appears that food warnings and recalls, particularly from products originating from China, have been on the rise. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) places the onus of food safety on the importer, who must adhere to the CFIA's quality standards. While this has been little comfort to those upset by the rash of recent recalls, it has increased awareness of such issues, catalysing growth of such organizations as Canadian Partnership for Consumer Food Safety Education and increasing awareness of the benefits of locally grown and organic food.