The provision of adequate nutrients and healthy eating
during a child’s first 1000 days is important for optimal neurodevelopment,
according to an American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement published
online in Pediatrics.

Sarah Jane Schwarzenberg, MD, and Michael K. Georgieff, MD,
from the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis,
address maternal prenatal nutrition and children’s nutrition in the first two
years of life (1000 days) and its long-term impact.

The researchers note that nutritional status during this
period may program child and adult health risks, including obesity,
hypertension, and diabetes. Calories are essential for foetal and child growth,
but are not adequate for normal brain development. Protein, zinc, iron,
choline, folate, iodine, vitamins A, D, B6, and B12, and long-chain
polyunsaturated fatty acids are key nutrients that support neurodevelopment.
During the critical period of brain development, failure to provide key
nutrients may result in lifelong deficits in brain function, despite subsequent
repletion of nutrients. Pregnant and breastfeeding women, infants, and toddlers
should be referred to existing services for nutrition support. All providers
caring for children should advocate for healthy diets in the first 1000 days.

“Prioritising public policies that ensure the provision
of adequate nutrients and healthy eating during this crucial time would ensure
that all children have an early foundation for optimal neurodevelopment, a key
factor in long-term health,” the authors write.


Reference: Advocacy
for Improving Nutrition in the First 1000 Days To Support Childhood Development
and Adult Health. Pediatrics. Published online 22 January 2018.