AAP Urges Increased Attention to Nutrition For Young Children

While it has always been well known that good nutrition on both the macro and micronutrient level is a vital part of healthy development, emerging research is showing just how important this factor is, especially for infants and toddlers. In response, the Committee on Nutrition from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently issued a new policy statement designed to summarize the existing research and motivate physicians to be sure and focus on nutrition when working with pregnant women and young children.

photo by Kittikun Atsawintarangkul and freedigitalphotos.net

The report provides a brief narrative review of the literature was provided that was not intended to be fully comprehensive. Of note, obesity is included as a form of malnutrition. The authors describe the evidence for how critical good nutrition is for brain health, including studies that indicate that deficiencies at some critical periods cannot be completely overcome later. On the  positive side, there are also studies that demonstrate that providing good early nutrition can reduce some of the socioeconomic differences that occur with regard to academic achievement. In the US, studies have shown that over one-third of low-income households face food insecurity in a given year.

Improving outcomes was targeted for three more specific domains including, 1) prenatal nutrition of the mother, 2) breastfeeding rates, and 3) encouraging good nutrition in the infant and toddler. The review highlights the positive impact of various programs such as the Special Supplementation Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP). Specific recommendations for primary care and other clinicians include advocacy of breastfeeding, support of state and federal nutrition programs, improving knowledge of nutrition and specific macro and micronutrients, and encouraging qualifying families to utilize existing resources.


Schwarzenberg SJ, et al. Advocacy for Improving Nutrition in the First 1000 Days To Support Childhood Development and Adult Health. Pediatrics 2018; Feb;141(2). pii: e20173716. doi: 10.1542

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