STAY FIT: Consuming less fat can make kids obese too


Eating too little fat may make your kids overweight, says a study that highlights the need for eating the right amounts of fat. The study conducted by scientists at Goteborg University in Sweden looked at the eating habits and lifestyles of around 200 healthy four-year-olds and found that those who were significantly overweight consumed low amounts of unsaturated fat - the type found in fish, olive oil and vegetables.

Examination revealed that weight increases were due to the body storing too much fat, but those who ate the most fat were not the heaviest. Children who ate less fat had a higher body mass index (BMI) that relates weight and height readings, reported the online edition of BBC News.

“Every third child in the study ate far too little unsaturated fat, above all too little omega-3, mainly found in oily fish such as herring, mackerel and sardines. These children had significantly higher body weight,” said dietician Malin Haglund Garemo, who led the team. The researchers found that the eating habits of many children fell a long way short of healthy diet guidelines. On an average, they ate only 140 grams of fruit and vegetables per day, compared with the recommended 400 grams. A fifth of the children were getting insufficient calcium, and 70 percent were deficient in iron. One quarter of the children’s total energy intake came from sweets, ice cream, biscuits and soft drinks. A key finding was that children with the highest insulin levels, a hormone that helps the body use glucose for energy, had gained the most weight since birth.