The Power of Nutrition in the First 1000 Days of Life

Nutrition plays a crucial role in the physical growth, cognitive development, immune maturation, digestive system development and the development of healthy eating habits of children in their first years of life. Research shows that what children drink from birth to age 5 can have a big impact on their health, since drinks account for a large part of their intake during this stage of life. Healthy Eating Research, a consensus report from leading health organizations, recommends pasteurized and natural milk and water after the first year as reference beverages for hydration and nutrition to support bone growth and health. Experts also suggest limiting fruit juice to 100% and avoiding plant-based beverages that are not nutritionally equivalent to cow's milk as a substitute for drinking milk.

Sugar-sweetened beverages are not recommended for children because they often displace nutritious foods that are important for growth and development. The brain is an incredible organ that consumes the most calories and protein on a daily basis. For babies, this figure is 60%. During the first thousand days of life, much of the brain's construction takes place and it requires a lot of nutrition, calories, protein, iron and zinc to bind it properly. Food reformulation is the process of altering the processing or composition of a food or beverage product to improve its nutritional profile or reduce.

Educators and health professionals can access free, science-based nutrition education resources to teach children and families about the importance of healthy eating for lifelong good health. Solids should be introduced around 6 months of age to meet your baby's growing nutritional and developmental needs. Better nutrition is linked to better health of infants, children and mothers, a stronger immune system, safer pregnancy and delivery, a lower risk of non-communicable diseases (such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease), and longevity. Science-based nutrition teaching that focuses on overall diet quality and the importance of healthy food choices encourages children to develop healthier eating habits. The World Health Organization (WHO) departments of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health and Aging (MCA), Nutrition and Food Security (NFS), and Sexual and Reproductive have identified the first 1000 days of a person's life as an important time to meet nutritional needs. Nutrition is an essential part of health, supporting development at every stage of life, starting with pregnancy and continuing through childhood, early childhood, adolescence and adulthood.

There are multiple forms of malnutrition, including malnutrition (wasting or stunting), inadequate vitamins or minerals, overweight, obesity, and the resulting diet-related noncommunicable diseases. Adequate nutrition is essential for people to be productive and create opportunities to gradually break cycles of poverty and hunger. It is important to understand the power of nutrition in the first 1000 days of life in order to ensure that mothers who are thinking of becoming pregnant enter that pregnancy with good nutritional status. Educators and health professionals should use free science-based nutrition education resources to teach children and families about the importance of healthy eating for lifelong good health.