1. PEDIATRIC DIABETES (DM) and insulin resistance represents 0.2% of all people under 20 years of age. From 1990 to 2005 diabetes has doubled in the adult population: as a result , consumers will be reading labels for sugar, counting carbohydrates and wanting to know about High and Low glycemic index foods. Foods recommended for DM management need to have more fiber and protein in them and contain lower simple sugar content to help regulate blood sugars. Parents are wanting less sugar in their foods especially in the form of less high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) which has been added unnecessarily to may food products (even bread) for more sweetness-negatively changing the palates of children.
2. PEDIATRIC OBESITY: The CDC states 17% of children 6-19 years are overweight or obese. In the last 30 years obesity rates in pre-school children ages 2-5 years has doubled. Overweight adolescents have a 70% chance of becoming overweight or obese adults so early intervention is key. Keeping foods low in calories and low in fat for weight control and providing fiber and protein to help increase satiety and control blood sugar is important in children’s diets.
3. With obesity comes co morbidities associated with HEART DISEASE such as hypertention and hyperlipidemia. Limiting sodium, and total fat, saturated fats and having 0 trans fats all help with these conditions as well as promoting exercise, and a balanced diet of plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains , lean meats and fish, low fat dairy, heart healthy fats, nuts, seeds and legumes.
4. CLEAN “fresh” WHOLE foods are in, processed foods with preservatives and artificial ingredients are out. Parents are choosing foods based on their ingredient lists: avoiding HFCS,MSG, nitrites, hormones and food coloring The less foods listed in the ingredients the less processed. Biodegradable, recycled or recycable packaging is also important to consumers.
5. QUICK, CONVENIENT foods are still in demand and absolutely necessary in today’s dual income ,busy household. Freshness “locked” into freezer packaging makes nutritious meals easy to prepare for the family- Simple examples are flash frozen boiled plain brown rice-or lentils or even fresh flash frozen fish to help make getting quick, easy and healthy dinners together for the family.
6. CHILDHOOD ALLERGIES are on the top of many parent’s minds as their children may experience allergies to dairy, soy, peanuts, shellfish, soy and other food ingredients. The food industry needs to clearly label food allergens and provide simple food ingredient lists –allergen free. Foods need to be customized to take into account pediatric allergies.
7. IMMUNITY: The incidence of celiac disease is now 1/133 Americans an autoimmune disease in which gluten (wheat protein) inflames the bowel. Deleting gluten from foods for those gluten sensitive people will be another trend to look at. Foods (prebiotics, nucleotides, carotenoids) which strengthen a child’s IMMUNITY may also be a future trend.
8. UNDER NUTRITION /FTT Babies falling off their growth curve need to gain weight to support their normal growth. A nutriiotn issue in children who are ages 9 mos to 2 years of age is not gaining enough weight. Many factors include: limited eaters, allergies, food issues involving transitioning to foods. Usually these babies catch up with dietary guidance.
9. Undernutrition also includes children and teens not getting enough dietary CALCIUM ( eg. 1300mg/day for ages 9-18years) . Adding key ingredients to children’s foods may help with those limited eaters- such functional foods include calcium, fiber ,Vitamin D or even C and E fortified foods.
10. EPIGENETICS and NUTRIGENTICS ARE THE WAVE OF THE FUTURE: Parents want not only to live a long and healthy life but have their kids also live longer and stronger. How is our DNA changing over generations based on our environmental choices: one of which includes foods. The January 18th issue of Time Magazine’s cover story looks at “ Why your DNA Isn’t your destiny- The new science of epigenetics reveals how the choices you make can change your genes-and those of your kids.” This article asks us :Can your lifestyle choices change the epigenetic markers on your DNA and then be passed own to your children? Epigenetics and nutrigenomics are in their infancy and nutrition will play a significant role in the future of these sciences.