Low-Fat Diets Safe for Children
WebMD News Archive
"The intake of trans fatty acids by the STRIP children in this study is
low in international comparisons," write the authors. "Possible sources
of trans fatty acids include fried foods, milk fat, meat, snacks, and vegetable
oil-based products such as cheese and ice cream. Fried foods are used in
Finland markedly less often than in the United States and are uncommon in the
diets of 3-year-old children."
Richard Deckelbaum, MD, professor of pediatrics and head of the Institute of
Human Nutrition at Columbia University in New York, wrote an editorial
accompanying the paper. According to Deckelbaum, the consumption of trans fatty
acids among children in the U.S. is probably quite similar to that in Finland.
"We need more data on this, but it is unlikely that American children are
consuming more trans fatty acids when they make the switch from saturated to
unsaturated fats," he tells WebMD. "There's been a lot of emphasis in
this country on reducing consumption of trans fatty acids."
In 1998, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued the following
recommendations regarding fat and cholesterol intake in children: "No
restriction of fat or cholesterol is recommended for infants <2 years, when
rapid growth and development require high energy intakes. After 2 years of age,
children and adolescents should gradually adopt a diet that, by ~5 years of
age, contains total fat of <30% of total calories, saturated fatty acids
<10% of total calories, and dietary cholesterol of 300 mg per day."
"The results of the STRIP study are encouraging and suggest that there
is no need to change current U.S. dietary recommendations regarding fat intake
in children older than 2 years," Deckelbaum says. "Instead of devoting
resources to making small changes in the diets of our children, we believe the
emphasis should be placed on increasing energy expenditure and consuming fewer