Policy promotes diet as fundamental to early childhood health

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NEW YORK (CBS) What your child eats in their first years can impact their brain development, and the rest of their life. That's according to a new policy from the American Academy of Pediatrics that is telling parents they need to consider their child's diet before they're even born.

Getting her two young children to eat a healthy diet isn't always this easy, but Jennifer Osterweil is doing the best she can. "When your kids eats healthy, if feels like you're eating healthy," she said.

And those choices in the first 1,000 days of life could have a major impact on mental health and brain development according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. "It can affect the child long term, in terms of cognitive development, in terms of attention, behavior," said Dr. Preeti Parikh, an AAP spokesperson.

The AAP recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six-months, and it calls on pediatricians to recommend more than just a good diet including brain-building nutrients for pregnant women and young children... "Things like choline -- and you can get that in eggs," Dr. Parikh said. "Iron, iodine -- you can get that in red meats... beans, lentils -- protein -- peanut butter, eggs, of course, lean meats...zinc... vitamins A, D, B6, B12."

Osterweil knows with little ones, not every day can be perfect. "But if I can get something a little bit healthier with her -- more of a balance. Like If I can get a slice of pizza, with some broccoli on the side.
Reporter Kenneth Craig: you feel good about that?
Jennifer Osterweil: I feel ok. It was an okay night.

She's taking it one meal at a time.

The policy also calls on pediatricians to talk with parents about which foods are healthy and nutrient-rich, and not just alternatives to junk food.