Early childhood is a time of rapid growth and development, and fat plays an important role in building the brain and body. In recent years, the types of fat used in food preparation has changed as a result of concerns over adult health issues such as heart disease and overweight, but little is known about the types and amount of fat young children need to grow healthy and strong.
Researchers at the Child & Family Research Institute are studying the fats found in eggs, meat, fish and human milk, but that occur in low amounts in cow’s milk and dairy foods, and that do not occur in vegetable oils, cereals, fruits or vegetables. The goal of this research is to determine whether young children need to eat a certain amount of these fats.
The information gathered in this study will be used to improve nutrition recommendations for young children, and to help parents and health professionals better understand what young children should eat.
In order to understand the role that these unique fats play in young children’s development, Dr. Sheila Innis’ team is recruiting infants aged 12-14 months to participate in a year-long study. Parents will answer questions about their child’s diet. Children will play games with the research staff, who will evaluate each child's learning and attention.
Families will be given a daily nutritional supplement or placebo for their child, and children’s growth will be tracked to 24 months of age. This information, plus a small blood sample from the child, will contribute to improved understanding of childhood nutritional requirements and better guidelines for child health.
Previous studies by researchers at CFRI and BC Children’s Hospital have informed Canadian nutrition guidelines, including recent updates to Health Canada’s feeding guidelines for infants aged 0-6 months, and young children aged 6-24 months.
For more information, or to participate in the study, visit the CFRI Nutrition website.
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