Sustainability starts with personal health, and the love of healthy food can be learned. That is good news for a nation trending towards more diet related diseases every year. In one US study, over 30% of participants were overweight or obese by 9 months of age. How do we reverse this trend? Dr. Alan Greene, the author of Feeding Baby Green, believes that we can reverse the trend of poor diet by imprinting babies with a taste for healthy food before they can walk. Dr Greene says the taste for food is learned rather than genetic. There is a window in early childhood between weaning and walking when babies are testing everything with their mouths. At this time, babies are imprinting on food. Once babies start walking, they are pre-disposed to reject unfamiliar foods for survival reasons.
In the US, most babies’ first foods are highly processed wheat products. Consider the staples of Pepperidge Farm’s Goldfish and Cherrios in every mother’s handy bag. Once imprinted on these foods, the child will spend his or her lifetime fighting the desire to eat these processed foods, which can lead to bad habits in time. This is why Dr. Greene started a campaign called White Out Now to promote awareness of this fatal imprinting.
The imprint window is short but effective. With 6-10 tries to imprint a baby with broccoli, 85% will become imprinted and readily accept future offers of broccoli. By comparison, imprinting an adult will take 89 tries. Unfortunately 94% of US parents would give up on feeding broccoli before the 6th try. If you have a baby, the lesson here is try-try again. And if you want to influence an older child or an adult, but want to shorten the 89-tries period, it is possible to increase likelihood of success by 2 to 4 times by involving the child or adult in food preparation.
Sustainability starts with personal health, are you nourishing yourself and your family with the right stuff?
Connie Kwan is the CEO of RealMealz.com in Silicon Valley, CA. She holds an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School, and covers stories about triple bottom line businesses and projects. Follow her on Twitter @RealMealz.