Eating apple

In a report released yesterday by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the organization cites benefits for children who eat organic food and a diet rich in fruits and vegetables—organic or not.

Entitled “Organic Foods: Health and Environmental Advantages and Disadvantages,” the AAP’s report was released at the AAP National Conference & Exhibition in New Orleans and published in the November 2012 issue of the journal Pediatrics (released October 22nd).

Among the study’s findings, which the organization says serves as a guide for both parents and pediatricians, the AAP concluded that organic foods have essentially the same levels of vitamins, minerals, proteins and other nutrients as in conventional foods; but some organic options were higher in nutrients such as vitamin C, some antioxidant plant phenols and phosphorous. Organic foods also decrease the risk of exposure to pesticides—not just for children, but for the farm workers as well—and are less harmful to the environment. Likewise, organically raised animals are less likely to be a risk for antibiotic-resistant bacteria than conventionally raised animal products.

The report also suggested that—similar to conclusions made by the Environmental Working Group—eating a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, whether conventional or organic, is still better than the risk of pesticide exposure. For families on limited budgets unable to afford organic produce, this is a considerably important note, “What’s most important is that children eat a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat or fat-free dairy products, whether those are conventional or organic foods. This type of diet has proven health benefits,” said Janet Silverstein, MD, FAAP, a member of the AAP Committee on Nutrition and one of the lead authors of the report.

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Image: LennyBaker