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Children need fat in diet

16th August 2007

A research team at a US university has found, despite concerns about obesity in children, it is vital they consume enough fat in their diet.

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The study, published in the Nutrition Journal, said parents who give their children diets with a low fat content could be "misguided'. They said children required fat in their diets in order to grow.

The Pennsylvania State University team recommended that more than one third of a child's daily food consumption should come from fat.

The researchers stated that: "many parents and children restrict fat for health reasons. Sufficient fat must be included in the diet for children to support normal growth and development."

The team studied ten children and ten adults. They were all given the same diet and did not take part in strenuous activities. The subjects spent their time reading or walking slowly.

Researchers carried out tests which showed that a child burns more fat than an adult in relation to the amount of energy they use.

UK nutritionists said fat should come from "healthy sources" such as fish and that saturated fat should be avoided.

"I think this research is absolutely right," said Tam Fry from the National Obesity Forum. "Young children need more fat and energy for the whole purpose of growing and living."

"To give them low-fat and sugar-free products is a bad idea."



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