Limiting exposure to bad food key to better child health - expert

Morning Talk 26/06/2018
Photo credit: Getty.

A nutrition researcher says limiting the exposure of bad food to children is the best way of making sure they consume less in the way of bad food.

Dr Lisa Te Morenga, Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Human Nutrition at Otago University says health outcomes are better in countries that impose tougher rules on what children are exposed to.

“We know the more junk food that children are exposed to, the more of it they’ll eat. So if we can get it out of some of the environments where they spend a lot of time, then they’ll get less exposure to it and they won’t be able to choose it as easily” Dr Te Morenga told RadioLIVE’s Mark Sainsbury.

“[In] Finland, where they provide the kids with healthy food, the children have much healthier diets than our children.”

Dr Te Morenga says sugar is a big problem in the diets of our children, but isn’t convinced of claims that sugar is addictive.

“I don’t know that sugar is as addictive as drugs as some might claim, but I think the more we have of it, the more we have it in our food and the more we get used to it, the more our palate changes. So we accept sweeter food and then we want it more.

“The prevalence of a lot of sweet foods all around us, you could say, is turning us into - not addicts - but over-consumers,” Dr Te Morenga said.

Listen to the full interview with Dr Lisa Te Morenga above.

Morning Talk with Mark Sainsbury, 9am - 12pm Weekdays and streaming live on 'rova' channel 9 - available on Android and iPhone.