Food and Behaviour Research

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The declaration of nutrition, health, and intelligence for the child-to-be.

Katzen-Luchenta J. (2007) Nutr Health.  19(1-2): 85-102. 

Web URL: View this and related abstracts via PubMed here

Abstract:

The Declaration of Nutrition, Health, and Intelligence for the Child-to-be is an urgent cry from the unborn child for a life-span of nutrients for physical and mental wellness. It is a proclamation of paramount importance for everyone involved in child development: parents, health professionals, teachers, government agencies, all producers of food--and children, so they may learn how to feed themselves well.

The Declaration of Olympia on Nutrition and Fitness, 1996, came from a group pf nutritional scientists and medical doctors to commemorate the Olympic Games' 100th anniversary. They based it on the health principles of Hippocrates: genetics, the age of the individual, the powers of various foods, and exercise. Following today's vast wealth of nutritional research and expressing it with my teaching experience, I have revitalized the Declaration of Olympia by writing from the heart of the little learner and the hope of the child-to-be.

The nutrients implicated in healthy reproduction and lifelong health include B vitamins, particularly B1, B6, folate, B3, B12, antioxidants, particularly vitamins C and E: minerals such as iron, zinc, magnesium, selenium, iodine, and copper; and essential fatty acids, particularly DHA.

These nutrients also lower the risk of neural tube defects: autism, dyslexia, Down's syndrome: childhood cancers, obesity, and defective fetal cell membranes associated with maternal diabetes. Our metabolism is hugely influenced also by activity and by affection.

Today's foods are often processed beyond the cells' recognition and can result in neurological and physical morbidity and mortality. A diet of unprocessed free-range animals and seafood: legumes, deep-colored vegetables and fruits: nuts, seeds, and whole grains, germ and bran, reinstates nutritional potency.

FAB RESEARCH COMMENT:

This article is written in the form of a heartfelt plea from both the children currently gorwing up, and those yet to be born, in a world in which highly processed, 'junk food' diets predominate - and have become a major threat to healthy brain development.

It spells out - in moving language that few parents, professionals, policymakers or food producers and provders could fail to understand - what is urgently needed if those children are to avoid the 'modern-day malnutrition' that robs so many children worldwide of the chance of ever reaching their full potential. 

The author knows much more than most people do about the critical importance of proper nutrition for brain development and function - having studied for her own PhD with Professor Michael Crawford - an absolute pioneer in this field.

In the early 1970s, in his remarkable first book, Professor Crawford warned public health policymakers even then (who were focused mainly on cardiovascular disease - and a misplaced focus on dietary cholesterol that large made things even worse) - that unless something was done to improve modern diets, rich in highly processed, nutrient-poor 'junk foods' high in sugar, unhealthy fats, and artificial additives, that 'Brain Disorders will be next'.....

In this paper - published as part of the proceedings from a special symposium on 'Generating Health Brains' - Dr Katzen-Luchenta provides a simple and elegant summary of key nutrients already shown to be essential for brain health, many of which are sadly lacking from the typical diets of both children and mothers-to-be today.