Early Life Nutrition is the nutrition that the children have got along the first 1,000 days of their life, starting from the day one in the mother’s womb to 2 years old. The study says that during the first 1,000 days of life, there have many factors that will influence the health condition for the entire life at more than 80% which are food, how to raise etc. While the DNA factor will be involved only 20%
“Nutrition” during the first 1,000 days is the key factor for the long-term health condition for the entire life, while getting less can cause malnutrition and more can lead to over nutrition. The study says that the nutrition practice during the beginning period of life is related to the brain development and the risk to have heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and osteoporosis at adult age.
For example, the babies that have malnutrition in the womb will cause them to have low weight when they were born, overweight when growing up and have 2 times higher risk to get heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and hypertension.
The malnutrition babies will get sick frequently and easy to get infection. The chronic iodine deficiency babies will have tendency to have lower IQ at 12 to 13.5 points. The anemia babies due to the iron deficiency will have lower IQ at 5 to 10 points. The severe stunting kids who have height problem during the first 2 years will also have lower IQ at 3 to 10 points than average.
What we should do during the first 1,000 days of life?
- The pregnant women should prepare the nutrition consumption especially the first month which is the critical period for brain development and nervous system of the babies. The most important nutrition is Folate and Iodine. In case the pregnant women don’t get enough on these nutrition, their babies will have a risk to be congenital and low IQ.
However, during the first month of pregnancy, most of the women might not acknowledge. Therefore, if any women have plan to have baby, it’s important to prepare themselves by taking the food that have high Folate and Iodine before.
- Folate can be found in fresh vegetables and fruits like cruciferous vegetables, asparagus, orange, grape, soy bean and liver. If not sure that will get enough Folate or not, try to drink the milk that contains Folate at least 1 to 2 glasses per day
- Iodine can be found in salt-water fish, seaweed and iodine salt.
- Babyborn should get enough breast feeding at least during te first 6 months old since breast milk contains the best nutrition for life. It can help build better immunity and protect the allegy symptom. When the mothers touch the baby during breast feeding, it will help stimulate and active the baby’s sense to add the link of the brain fibers and improve the brain’s development.
- 6-month baby is the age that should get supplimentary food together with the breast milk because they need more nutrition at appropriate level and this can lead them to be the healthy adult in the future. In opposite, if the babies don’t get sufficient nutrition - too much or not enough – at the right time, they will grow up and become the unhealthy person who will have high risk to get the chronic non-communicable diseases.
In Thailand, it’s found that the 6-8 months old toddlers are usually insufficient to energy, iron, zinc and vitamin C. For 9-11 months old, they are usually insufficient to energy and iron. Therefore, when the babies is ready to have supplementary, the mothers should select the full-nutrition and iron-contained supplementary.
- Young children at this age usually have slower growth rate than the babies but they still in need of high nutrition. Therefore, they need to eat the completed 3 meals with 5 groups of nutrition plus with the good snack for 1 to 2 times and 2-3 glasses of milk. The parents need to consistently monitor the growth graph of the children. Beware for overweighting, underweighting, too short or shor which all these signs will show the malnutrition problem is happened and it has to be fixed right then.