Preventing Childhood Obesity : From feeding pratices to dietary recommendations
Obesity is a multifactorial chronic disease with many interacting determinants. In 2016, overweight (including obesity) affected 18% of children worldwide (WHO, 2021). Facing this epidemic, the European Childhood Obesity Group (ECOG) brings together various experts from across the board dealing with childhood obesity and overweight to fully understand the health, social, psychological, and economic impacts of childhood obesity.
Following the 31st ECOG congress held on the 2nd- 4th of November 2022, this issue of the Global Fruit & Veg Newsletter is a special edition dedicated to the scientific works presented during the session sponsored by Aprifel on the theme “Preventing childhood obesity: from feeding practices to dietary recommendations”.
Three recent scientific works are shared in this edition, illustrating the challenge of the increased prevalence of childhood obesity and the interconnected determinants that influence children’s food behaviours while suggesting some strategies to tackle this issue.
- First, Michael I. Goran briefly summarized his recent book “Sugarproof- The Hidden Dangers of Sugar That Are Putting Your Child’s Health at Risk and What You Can Do.” The summary focuses mainly on fructose, a sugar present in fruit but also in fruit juice as well as other sugar sweetened beverages and explains the different mechanism of this component when consumed in whole fruit or in concentrated/ liquid forms. The short article also addresses the positive effect of internal motivation and creating a healthy home food environment for parents to help children making the healthy dietary change and choice.
- The second article written by Carole Tournier and Sophie Nicklaus is a pilot intervention conducted to evaluate the effect of providing recommendations about complementary feeding to parents, on children’s experience with and acceptance of textured foods. The study concluded that providing information resulted in an increase in parents’ introduction of small/soft pieces but not of more complex textures, stressing the need for further research on barriers to complex texture introduction.
- Finally, the study of Céline Richonnet analyzed the nutritional quality and the degree of processing of food and beverage products intended for children available on the French market. Using the Nutri-Score, the WHO Europe Nutrient Profile Model, and the NOVA classification, this study suggests that a significant share of pre-packaged foods marketed to children do not have an adequate nutritional profile.
Daniel Weghuber is Professor of Pediatrics at Paracelsus Medical University (PMU) in Salzburg, Austria. Clinically, he is Head of the Department of Pediatrics, also heading the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition and the Obesity Research Unit at PMU, focusing on metabolic comorbidities including glucose and fat metabolism and phenotypes of preclinical atherosclerosis. Other areas of interest include orthopedic and psychological comorbidities, interdisciplinary diagnostics, mitochondrial genetics, and lifestyle and pharmacological treatment of childhood obesity. He is currently Past President of the European Childhood Obesity Group.