Paediatricians are concerned that the continual emphasis on making sure children do not get fat is leading some of them missing out on essential nutrients, the AD reports on Tuesday.
Parents are so worried about their children becoming too heavy that they are feeding them on too many fat-reduced products, says Elise Buiting, who chairs the youth service medical association.
‘Children under the age of six need fat. We recommend full-fat yoghurt for example,’ she tells the AD. ‘Children who are given the same light products as their parents eat do not get enough.’
Psychiatrist Annemarie van Elburg says parents who are obsessed about healthy eating are suffering from an eating disorder known as orthorexia and forget that their children need fats for proper brain development.
And Radboud University professor Tatjana van Strien warns that young children should be kept away from low-fat products because of the relatively large quantities of artificial sweetener aspartame that they contain.
‘This is a downright dangerous substance,’ the AD quotes her as saying.
One mother quoted by the paper was shocked when a paediatrician told her 18 months ago that her daughter, now aged five, was underweight.
‘They told us to give her full-fat yoghurt and no more reduced-fat margarine,’ mother Rosanne said. ‘It took some getting used to because we never even had ordinary margarine at home, let alone butter.’
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