256 – Nutrition for Children – My Interview with Jolie Root

Good nutrition for children begins in the womb and continues through childhood

Children's Health

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Jolie RootWe face a growing challenge with childhood health. It seems that children are experiencing significant health issues more so than in the past. Parents are rightly concerned and always want to do the best for their children. Easier said than done. When we begin to consider the many ways in which children can be adversely affected it can be overwhelming. Perhaps even more daunting is how do we raise healthy children in today’s environment?

Healthy children begin with healthy mothers. It begins even before pregnancy as a healthy woman will do better during pregnancy than one that isn’t as healthy and perhaps doesn’t live a healthy lifestyle. So while this is a discussion about children’s health it really all starts with mom.

Many young women are deficient in many important nutrients. Babies are made from the nutrients that mothers provide. Deficient mother, deficient baby. I don’t think we can fully appreciate this simple equation. On the other side, if the mother is exposed to harmful chemicals through food and her environment then the baby will be born with these chemicals as well. Exposed mother, exposed fetus. It can’t be avoided, it can only be mitigated. Babies being born these days already have hundreds of chemical in their systems.

Every mother wants the best for their children. Mothers today are bombarded with many conflicting and contradictory advice. So what’s a mother to do? Our best advice is to get informed. Learn from a variety of experts and do what make sense and has a consensus of opinion. What make sense to me is start with the decision to seek better  health and to proactively avoid lifestyle risks as much as possible. This is critical as infants grow into adults.

In this interview, Jolie Root discusses some of the challenges to childhood wellness and some of the studies that have revealed the powerful positive effects of better nutrition. How do we know better nutrition helps children? It’s the studies that give us knowledge and confidence. Then experts like Jolie give us context.  

This is not a show about how to manage the specific health challenges of children. There are many health issues facing America’s children with childhood obesity being one of the most concerning. This show is more about facing the nutritional deficiencies that are inherent in the standard American diet (SAD) and how to shift the nutritional profiles of America’s families. The typical foods people eat are not nourishing. White sugar, refined grain products, and vegetable oils make up the bulk of the calories consumed. Perhaps as much as 80% of the calories consumed are nutrient deficient, meaning they contain little or no nutritional value. If the bulk of the diet is deficient then how is it possible to meet the bodies nutritional needs.

So it starts with a family that makes a commitment to eating higher quality foods. It also requires that food choices shift to greater variety and more wholesome. It requires adding more fruits and vegetables into the diet. It requires avoiding the fake and over processed foods. It means learning how to cook. It also means trying to reduce exposure to chemicals and toxins in the food and environment. It can seem overwhelming when we consider the enormity of the challenge. The good news is that small changes made consistently over time make a huge difference over a lifetime.

However when we take a closer look at even the most nutritious diet it is clear that very few get all of the recommended nutrients. Much less consume higher beneficial levels. Best case scenario, children have a wonderfully nutritious diet and they love the foods that are good for them, (good luck with that) they are still likely to be short in some key nutrients. Studies show that even good quality fruits and vegetables do not have the nutrient value of the same foods just 80 years ago. We must face the facts that children and adults could benefits from nutritional supplements. In the case of children, it is critical because of the constant growth and development.

Some of the key nutrients we consider in this interview are DHA omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A, D and C, calcium and probiotics. It’s hard to argue against the value of these nutrients as protective, supportive and even essential for healthy children. As parents we do what we can. It requires diligence and consistency. Jolie does an excellent job of articulating the challenges and offering suggestions and advice. We all need an expert that we can trust. Jolie is one of those reliable and credible nutritional experts that I trust. We have numerous other interviews with Jolie and you can find them all at this link. Also here are the interviews specifically related to children’s children’s health:

213 – Omega-3 DHA for Mother’s, Infants and Children – My Interview with Jolie Root

197 – A Call for Probiotics – My Interview with Jolie Root

About Jolie Root
Jolie is the Senior Nutritionist/Educator at Carlson Laboratories. She began as a natural products retailer who evolved into a career in education in the health sciences. She is a nutritionist and a nurse. She understands both the science and the practical application of good nutrition for health. Jolie hosts a weekly radio show called Food for Thought which is heard in New York, Florida and online.




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