Nutrition: Early Childhood Years – the way children eat fundamentally shapes their overall future development, health, growth and learning achievements.
In the first five years of life, your child’s brain develops more and faster than at any other time in their life, and during the first six years of their lives the brain is twice as active than that of an adult’s.
As caregivers, it’s our responsibility to be good role models and help children to develop healthy eating habits early on in their lives. 60% of nutrition is used by the brain during the first year of life, and 30% by age three. Let that sink in. That’s huge! This is why what children eat is so crucial and why early learning exposure to nutritious food plays an essential role in fostering mental development.
Alongside genes and the environment, nutrition is one of the three biggest factors that impact a child’s development. Research studies show that nutrition in a child’s early years is linked to their health and academic performance in later years.
That’s the main finding of a new study from two University of Pennsylvania researchers: Jianghong Liu, an associate professor in Penn’s School of Nursing and Perelman School of Medicine, and Adrian Raine, the Richard Perry University Professor of Criminology, Psychiatry and Psychology. They published their results in the journal Maternal & Child Nutrition.
This information is further backed by many worldwide studies, including an in-depth paper cited on The National Centre for Biotechnology Information, which states:
“The pre-school years (i.e., 1–5 years of age) is a time of rapid and dramatic postnatal brain development, i.e., neural plasticity, and of fundamental acquisition of cognitive development i.e., working memory, attention and inhibitory control. Also, it is a time of transition from a direct maternal mediation/selection of diet-based nutrition to food selection that is more based on self-selection and self-gratification.
During this time, children’s spoken vocabulary increases significantly; they gain greater motor coordination, and they are able to engage in tasks for slightly longer periods. Additionally, this age period is characterised by a time of transition from direct maternal control of infant nutrition to indirect maternal control in which infants do not procure their own nutrition, but they begin to assert increasing autonomy regarding what they eat. The toddler and preschool years are generally considered to be the most difficult phase of life to study because toddler performance is influenced by factors that are outside of experimental control such as emotional state, motivation, persistence, and comprehension of instructions.”
Providing nutritional choices and encouraging healthy eating habits is crucial to ensure development in a number of ways for your child, including:
- Emotional and social – to mature and form relationships with others.
- Cognitive – to make connections, develop language skills and gain short and long-term memory
- Physical – including height and weight.
Nutrition: Early Childhood Years
With all this in mind, at Wild.Kind., we attach importance to seasonal, regional and organic ingredients to provide a biologically valuable vegetarian diet for all the children. Good things from nature taste great and make us feel great! For more information please contact us.