21 Aug 2015

PI kids need to cut down on white bread - researcher

4:56 pm on 21 August 2015

A study has found refined carbohydrates could be to blame for overweight Pacific Island children.

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Photo: RNZ

The study, published in the New Zealand Medical Journal, is based on a survey of more than 1,000 children.

The Pacific Islands Families study has followed the eating patterns and food intake of a group of children born in 2000.

It said despite evidence that about half of the childrens' food intake was energy dense food such as cereals and bread, it could not prove a link to obesity.

But Otago University professor of medicine and human nutrition, Jim Mann, said certain facts were clear.

"What there is no doubt about is that low-fibre, highly-processed carbohydrate containing foods should be limited because they certainly have been linked to an increased risk of diabetes."

The study also said that for Pacific children during the critical period of growth from four to six years old, the low fibre and nutrient content of their diet should be addressed.

Researcher Fa'asisila Savila said it was the amount of white bread that the children were eating that was the problem.

"We need to have a better focus on the types of bread that are being eaten, so heading more down the track of wholemeal or wheatmeal bread because most of the bread we found in this study was white bread."

One in four Pacific children aged between two and 14 are obese, according to a Ministry of Health survey.

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