Nutrition of infants and young children (one to three years) and its effect on later health: A systematic review of current recommendations (EarlyNutrition project)

Bartomiej M. Zalewski, Bernadeta Patro-Golab, M. Veldhorst, S. Kouwenhoven, P. Cregten-Escobar, J. C. Lerma, B. Koletzko, J. B. van Goudoever, H. Szajewska

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Background. EarlyNutrition ( is an international research project investigating the effects of early nutrition on metabolic programming.Objective. To summarize, by performing a systematic review, current standards, recommendations, guidelines, and regulations (hereafter, referred to as documents) on the nutrition of children up to three years of age. Special emphasis was placed on long-term effects of early nutrition, such as the risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, overweight, obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, or glucose intolerance.Methods. MEDLINE, selected databases, and websites were searched for documents published between 2008 and January 2013.Results. Forty two documents met the inclusion criteria. The strongest and most consistent evidence for a protective, long-term effect was documented for breastfeeding. Also, limiting the intake of sodium and rapidly absorbed carbohydrates, use of a specific meal pattern, reducing the consumption of saturated fatty acids by replacing them with polyunsaturated fatty acids, and lowering the intake of trans fatty acids, seems beneficial. Many documents did not evaluate long-term outcomes of interest to us, or reported insufficient or imprecise data. Inconsistency in recommendations for some outcomes and research gaps were identified.Conclusions. Our findings may serve as a helpful tool in planning further research, preventive actions against important diet-related diseases, and guidelines improvement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489-500
Number of pages12
JournalCrit. Rev. Food Sci. Nutr.
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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