Published Mar 11, 2004
I have a friend who gives her 4 year old child fat free and reduce fat foods including fat free milk, along with sugar free foods when possible. The child has no diet restrictive illness, or condition. Is this healthy? I was under the impression that children needed fat in their diet at this age, of course in moderation. But to restrict/eliminate fat in the diet of a 4 year old seems a bit excessive. What do you think??
purplemania, BSN, RN
check with the Am. Pediatric Acadamy or some such. A balanced diet and exercise ought to be sufficient for any age.
fats are an important part of the childs diet. It is unwise to cut out all fats. As you said it should be given in moderation. So i say your friend is wrong to do this
Tweety, BSN, RN
There's an obesity epidemic happening in children. Studies are showing by the time kids reach teenage years the signs of athereosclerosis are already appearing.
Healthy fats are an important part of anyone's diet, including children. Is the child eating other things like meat, peanut butter, eggs? We should not presume because the child is drinking low fat milk that the child isn't getting enough fat. Whole milk is not necessary for healthy child development. American children eat way too much sugar.
But I agree, fat-restricted diets are wrong for anyone. There are the right kinds of fats to eat (the saturated fats in milk not necessarily being one of them).
Many thanks to all replies! I guess no harm is being done, but everything in the house is fatfree, or low fat. Its like this child is in perpetual diet mode at 4 years old. But with a family hx of heart dz the family wants to instill healthy eating habits so I do understand. Obesity is an epidemic in this society also. I think it has more to do with portion size and inactivity than fat content.
My Pediatrician told me they need the fat in whole milk up to age 2, then you can switch them to Skim milk. I don't know about the other Fat free foods but I would guess that even with all the fat free this and that he still probably gets enough dietary fat. If he looks healthy and is appropriate developmentally I wouldn't let it bug me.
I would think that redused fat would be OK, but fat free no. Children need fat for brain development (not that the brain will not develop without it) Also, some fat free foods have extra sugars and fillers to make up for the fat and this could be just as bad. I would check with a pediatrician, or a dietician jst to make sure.
I personally would not give sugar free / reduced fat foods to children...there is just no need for them to have all those artifical sugars and such. as one poster said excercise and balanced meals should be enough for children.
One of my sons favorite foods are tuna and grapes....if you introduce them to good wholesome food...they will eat good wholesome food.
But to each their own.
I personally would not give sugar free / reduced fat foods to children...there is just no need for them to have all those artifical sugars and such. as one poster said excercise and balanced meals should be enough for children. One of my sons favorite foods are tuna and grapes....if you introduce them to good wholesome food...they will eat good wholesome food.But to each their own.Pearl
But watch the mercury in tuna and the pesticides in grapes (especially Chilean grapes).
Nothing's safe anymore is it.
Being sarcastic. Kudos to you. I agree 100%. Healthy habits start young and start at home. There's only so much neighbors, friends, schools and the government can do.
I also heard that children need whole milk up until age 2. I think if they want to instill healthy eating habits, they should teach their child to eat foods that are naturally low in fat rather than reduced fat foods that will teach him to like the taste. Same with sugar free stuff--he learns to love cookies and at a later age he won't make the distinction between those that are sugar-free and the really yummy...er..I mean the really nasty yucky ones with sugar. He should learn to have those things only on rare occasions. Now. If I could just teach myself that lesson...
My son is 4-1/2 and our ped. had us switch to low-fat milk after age 2. I do agree that children need to watch their food intake. It is so easy to stop and get a burger or order chicken nuggets at a restaurant, that his fat intake is probable much higher than I would like to admit...(mine also!!!). We have made a conscious effort to expose him (and his 13 mos. little sister) to all kinds of foods. He will eat things that other kids his age would stick their noses up at, so I think in all, he's OK. Just gotta give up the burgers!!!!
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