You know I don’t give much weight to animal studies. I prefer to share research on actual human beings.
But after yesterday’s conversation about early risk factors for cognitive decline, there’s no way I couldn’t mention this new study. Because its takeaway message is crucial for parents everywhere…
Bigger brains, less anxiety
Let’s jump right to the juicy part: This new research found that exercise and healthy eating in childhood leads to a bigger brain and lower levels of anxiety in adulthood. (At least, in mice.)
Researchers split young, newly weaned mice into four groups:
- Those who were fed a healthy diet
- Those who ate a typical sugar-packed Western diet
- Those who had access to exercise wheels
- Those who did not have access to exercise wheels
The mice continued on their assigned diet for three weeks, until they reached sexual maturity.
After that, all of the mice ate a healthy diet, without access to exercise wheels, for eight weeks. Then, the researchers set out to investigate differences…
They found that exercise in early life lowered anxious behaviors in adult mice. But that’s not all—it also boosted adult muscle mass, and brain mass, to boot. Meanwhile, Western diets in early life led to fatter adult mice that preferred unhealthy food.
In other words, what you feed your kids today—and maybe more importantly, how often they move—could influence both their food preferences and their health for years to come.
A critical investment
Regardless of this being an animal study, we already know enough about childhood obesity trends by now to see the writing on the wall. And this is yet another nail in the coffin, clearly showing that the early childhood years are the most important when it comes to the development of long-term obesity—and all of the complications that come with it.
I’ve been warning people about this for years—in my medical practice, right here in my Reality Health Check, and in my monthly Logical Health Alternatives newsletter. And it’s high time for people to start listening up. Because now, we’re seeing young kids suffering from very serious, very adult health complications—including insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Is this really the legacy you want to leave your children or grandchildren?
No? Well then start turning a blind eye to the kids’ menu. Fried foods aren’t for kids. As always, a Mediterranean-style diet chock full of nutritious fruits, vegetables, proteins, and healthy fats is optimal for everyone—no matter what your age.
And while you’re at it, make sure the whole family is getting regular exercise. The return of longer, warmer days means more opportunity to get outside and move your body. So turn off the TV and hop on your bikes, go for a hike, or take a swim.
It’s the single most important investment you can make in your child’s future. And the memories? Well, those will last a lifetime, too.
“Childhood diet and exercise creates healthier, less anxious adults: Study in mice shows lasting effects of early-life habits.” Science Daily, 04/09/2021. (sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/04/210409093604.htm)