A new study finds one more reason why it’s not good for kids to grow up around junk food.
We know that junk food isn’t great for kids, but new research further emphasizes this by pointing out just how important their neighborhoods are. According to a new study from UK’s University of Southampton, the more fast food restaurants in a neighborhood, the more likely it is for children to grow up with weak bones. Published in the journal Osteoporosis International, highlights just how much influence a neighborhood can have on a child’s development at a very early age.
In this new study, researchers examined the bone health and growth of about 1000 children at birth, and checked in with them again when they were four-and six-years-old. Data showed that children who were born in neighborhoods with an abundance of fast food chains had poorer bone health than those who were born in neighborhoods with healthier groceries and supermarkets.
The study's co-author, and chair of the International Osteoporosis Foundation, Cyprus Cooper said in a press release; "These findings suggest that the exposure of mothers and children to more healthy food environments might optimize childhood bone development through its influence on the quality of the maternal diet and dietary choices during childhood."
With this study in mind, supermarkets should remind shoppers of the benefits of healthy eating not only for parents of young children, but also pregnant women. Researchers noted that protein, calcium, vitamin D, fruits, and vegetables all positively influence bone health, especially during early years. Supermarkets should be offering tips, recipe ideas and promotions to help consumers implement such nutrition advice. Particularly supermarkets and grocery stores that are situated in food deserts, or areas where they may be the only option for families. Furthermore, just because healthy foods are available doesn’t guarantee community behavior will change – so retailers need to take a more proactive role to make sure shoppers have the knowledge and education to make the healthiest choices