A study published in Osteoporosis International found that children who grow up near fast food restaurants are more likely to have lower bone mineral density as newborns. The study, which involved more than 1,000 children in England, examined the bone mineral content and bone mineral density of children at birth and then again as young children. Greater access to healthful foods in the form of “healthy specialty stores,” by contrast, was actually linked at ages four or six with higher bone mineral density. Further studies are needed and correlation does not mean causation, but the study is already having an effect on UK lawmakers: local planning laws are being drafted to ban fast food outlets close to schools. Food choices during a child’s earliest years (and in utero) are especially important; bone mass is largely developed by a young person’s late teens or early twenties, so the food environment that a child grows up in could have a major effect on her health throughout her lifetime. And this link certainly makes sense on a logical level: if moms-to-be and young children in healthy food “deserts” don’t have much access to nourishing sources of protein, calcium, and fruits and veggies, their options to cultivate (or even learn about) good nutrition will likely be limited.
via Medical Daily