Topic 4 Impact on children ‘s health

Studies (Friesen & Innis, 2006) have shown that trans-fatty acids significantly increase inflammatory reactions and cause adverse effects on children’s growth and development. Children whose mothers had allergies or whose milk contained high levels of trans-fatty acids also develop allergies. Trans-fatty acids in breast milk have been linked to the development of allergic symptoms in children and can interfere with the metabolism of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Impaired synthesis of polyunsaturated fatty acids can adversely affect infant growth.

Recent studies have shown that the growth, development, weight and height of the fetal in the womb, as well as the length of the pregnancy, are strongly influenced by trans-fatty acids, which enter the fetus through the placenta and the mother’s bloodstream. They can influence the development of diet-related chronic diseases as children grow, mature and become adults. Trans-fatty acids are readily absorbed and therefore pass easily into the placenta, fetal tissues and breast milk. Breast milk may contain industrially produced trans fatty acids (TFAs), which can affect the content of essential fatty acids (EFAs). This could have significant implications for the child’s development. The fatty acids present in breast milk can be modified by adjusting the mother’s diet (Chávez‐Servín et al., 2022).

Nutritionists and pediatricians should warn parents about the impact of TFA on children’s health at an early age, and encourage them to minimize the consumption of confectionery, fast food, hamburgers, French fries, and other products with high levels of trans-fatty acids. The influence of trans-fatty acids on the development of allergies and eczema in children aged 13-14 years has also been established (Semma, 2002).