The modern-day diet is full of high-fat ingredients, preservatives and other harmful foods that may have a negative impact on heart. They say ‘eating habits start young’. Well, according to this recent study, eating habits should start way younger; during infancy. Yes, if the findings of this study are to be believed, eating habits formed in infants stay with them all the way till they reach adulthood. So, the researchers are of the opinion that early dietary counselling started in infancy leave a permanent and a positive impact on their mind, which leads them to enjoy good heart health by following a healthy diet even when they are adults.
For the study, the researchers from the University of Turku roped in 1,116 children from different families of Turku. Half of the children, while they were infants, were given dietary counselling promoting a heart-healthy diet according to the nutritional recommendations. Other half received only the basic health education given at Finnish maternity and child health clinics and school health care. The team studied the diet and health pattern of these children till they turned 20.
According to Assistant Professor and vice-principal investigator Katja Pahkala from the University of Turku, “The research shows that regular dietary counselling starting in infancy has a positive impact on the quality of fat in the diet, as well as on the serum cholesterol level, insulin sensitivity, and blood pressure. In addition, the clustering of adverse cardiovascular health markers is less common in the group that participated in the dietary counselling than in the control group.”
The researchers also asked the participants to visit back when they turned 26 for a follow-up study to check if the adults following a heart-healthy diet since childhood were continuing with their eating habits.
“As a whole, the results support the idea that counselling on a heart-healthy diet starting in childhood has a positive impact on cardiovascular health, which is sustained after discontinuation of the active counselling”, Katja Pahkala concluded.