The Nest

Concise, science-based up-to-date practical information for health professionals in key areas of pediatric health and nutrition.

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Allergies now affect more people than we think. About 1 in 3 children suffer from at least one allergy in developed countries alone. With the steady hike in cases of allergies and its different manifestations, we veer focus now to preventing allergies and lowering long term risks. In this edition of The Nest, we investigate the role nutrition plays in achieving better outcomes for allergy prevention.

The highest growth rates in weight and length occur during fetal life and in the first two years of life after birth and during adolescence. Nutrition is childhood is crucial for adequate growth and development, including adequate immune system functioning and brain development.

The infant gut microbiome is a dynamic ecosystem that undergoes changes from birth until two to three years of age, followed by a gradual evolution towards an adult microbiome in later childhood. The early life microbiome trajectory is influenced by many factors with nutrition playing a crucial role. Dysbiosis in the first years of life is related to lifelong health consequences. Human milk oligosaccharides and probiotics have the potential to modulate the gut microbiome with consequent positive impact on reducing the risk of developing certain diseases.

Infant feeding is a large component of parenting that encompasses the social, cultural, and economic structure of a parent’s life. There are universal challenges for parents, no matter where in the world they are raising their children. Health Care Professionals are the preferred source on parenting advice. Their role in education and support is key to empower parents to adopt recommended infant feeding.

Functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs) such as regurgitation, colic and functional constipation are very common during infancy. FGIDs are a frequent reason for pediatric consultations, with an estimation of 20-30% consultations during the first months of life being related to FGID.

Toddlerhood represents striking changes in children’s development. It is a period of a time of rapid cognitive, social-emotional, and physical development. Changing nutritional needs accompany these developmental milestones. This publication of The Nest brings together topics of great interest on the field of toddlers’ nutrition such as toddlers’ development and their nutritional needs and gaps, role of milk fortification and importance of adequate vitamin D intake and status at this stage of life.

Gut microbiota, including probiotics, prebiotics and synbiotics, is a hot topics of discussion in the clinical practice. It is well established today that not all probiotics and/or prebiotics are equal. Probiotics health benefits are strain specific and in the case of Human Milk Oligosaccharide (HMOs) and prebiotics, functions are dependent on their structural composition.