More than half of children born in the 21st century in developed countries will surpass the 100-year-old barrier

In Portugal there is a machine, at the Dona Estefânia hospital, which has only one other copy in the Iberian Peninsula, in Spain, which allows to obtain detailed data on the body composition of babies, fat mass and lean, with the aim of studying the efficiency of treatments in babies with nutritional and metabolic problems. The use of this technology, together with the analysis of breast milk, is a study that can help to have a more real idea of ​​the nutritional health of newborns and even of fetuses.

Baby nutrition is an often forgotten topic, but it can make all the difference to their health in the short and long term. Babies born now, who can expect to live to 100 years old, are the generation with the highest average life expectancy ever and nutrition can boost a long and healthy life, even from birth:

“If the baby suffers intrauterine hunger, it will create mechanisms that make it survive, hibernate, so to speak. They increase the fat reserve, try to harvest as much glucose as possible and after birth it maintains these same mechanisms, It’s called programming, which will last throughout life and in adolescence, even in adulthood, they are predisposed to developing diabetes and obesity”, explains neonatologist Luís Pereira da Silva.

Fetal malnutrition is often associated with the aging of the placenta, which is detected during pregnancy and mitigated with medication. On the opposite side, fetal overnutrition can also be the cause of this type of problem, but with a different mechanism behind it and it occurs mainly in mothers with diabetes.

After birth, among experts there seems to be no doubt that breast milk is the best option for health in the short and long term, as it is the “most physiological, most organic and most natural food that can be given to a baby”, explains nutritionist Mariana Abecasis, adding that each breast milk has different characteristics as “they vary from woman to woman and are adapted to that baby, to different times of the day and different phases of growth.” Breast milk has an impact on long-term health, preventing joy, improving cognitive development, preventing high blood pressure.

Once the challenges of breastfeeding are over, different ones arise that begin mainly when the so-called family diet is introduced and the baby is exposed to the diet of the parents, school and the advertising. In Portugal, children’s nutrition has been studied and data from several studies show an exaggerated consumption of sugar, red meat and processed foods, which contributed to the latest data from the National Institute of Health Doctor Ricardo Jorge point to a rate of more than 30% of overweight children and this gives rise to several problems such as hypertension, dyslipidemia and even certain types of cancer.

Neonatologist Luís Pereira da Silva defends an investment in the regulation of “advertising, an investment at nursery level with nutritionists to guide diet and literacy for caregivers”.

Food, social integration, living conditions and the development of medicine have an impact on longevity in the first years of life. In a generation that is expected to live longer, the challenges now lie in increasing healthy years of life.


Francesco Giganti

Journalist, social media, blogger and pop culture obsessive in newshubpro

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