Thanks to the relatively new field of science known as the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease, we know that the seeds of poor or good health may be planted even before conception. The raw materials from which a fetus develops --- the father’s sperm and the mother’s egg ---carry biological memories of past experiences like toxic exposures and poor nutrition. Once conceived, a developing fetus is highly sensitive to environmental impacts. Poor nourishment or exposure to other forms of excessive stress sparks epigenetic changes that function like programming, laying the groundwork for increased vulnerability to a range of chronic illnesses as an adult.
We also know that the first two years of a child’s life have a major influence on their health and well-being as an adult. Key body systems, such as the immune system and the brain, are still in full development mode.
Good nutrition plays a vital role in how children develop and grow throughout their childhood and adolescence. So, too, do their life experiences. Not all of these factors are within parental control, but how they weave together are threads in the fabric of children’s health and well-being for the rest of their lives.
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