Par­ents cost their kids years of life

Sunday Tasmanian - - News - SUE DUNLEVY

BA­BIES born to­day could have a shorter life­span than their par­ents and suf­fer more dis­ease, all be­cause of what goes on in the first 1000 days of their life.

Sci­en­tists will this week launch new di­etary rec­om­men­da­tions to try to pre­vent the prob­lem.

They say the poor life­style and eat­ing habits of par­ents are to blame for ill health in chil­dren and the dam­age starts even be­fore women con­ceive a baby. Two thirds of par­ents are over­weight and new ev­i­dence shows it’s harm­ing not just their own health but af­fects their chil­dren’s genes and causes dis­ease in them as well.

The chil­dren of over­weight par­ents are at higher risk of obe­sity, type-2 di­a­betes, kid­ney dis­ease and can­cer.

Some sci­en­tists say this means they could live five years less than their par­ents, oth­ers say they might live longer but they will be sicker.

Re­search from Syd­ney Univer­sity this week showed how the parental diet of an­i­mals from cater­pil­lars to mon­keys af­fected their off­spring’s im­mu­nity.

Bad parental di­ets led to higher mark­ers of in­flam­ma­tion linked to de­men­tia and can­cer in their chil­dren.

The Early Life Nu­tri­tion Coali­tion, a group of 15 early life nu­tri­tion aca­demic and health groups, will this week re­lease new diet rec­om­men­da­tions and guide­lines that aim to pre­vent al­ler­gies and the dis­eases that can be in­flu­enced by par­ents’ poor di­ets.

The catch is, they re­quire mums and dads to change their life­style a year be­fore they plan to get preg­nant.

New rules are needed be- cause more than one mil­lion peo­ple have type-2 di­a­betes, one-in-nine chil­dren have asthma, one in 10 kids have a food al­lergy and ana­phy­laxis has in­creased five­fold in chil­dren four years old and un­der.

“For many of these dis­eases, it’s not genes, but en­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors and nu­tri­tional in­take in the ear­li­est stages of life that are most in­flu­en­tial,” said Early Life Nu­tri­tion Coali­tion chair­man Pro­fes­sor Peter Davies, di­rec­tor of the Chil­dren’s Nu­tri­tion Re­search Cen­tre, Univer­sity of Queens­land.

“We know that dur­ing preg­nancy and through­out in­fancy, there are crit­i­cal times when a foe­tus and baby are par­tic­u­larly sus­cep­ti­ble to the in­flu­ence of nu­tri­tion — both good and poor nu­tri­tional in­take.”

The prob­lem starts with the fact many mums are over­weight be­fore they get preg­nant.

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