Most chronic diseases experienced in adulthood originated from the kind of nutritional habit in the first 1,000 days of their life. The period was a unique window of opportunity to prevent these diseases. The first 1,000 days of life, from pregnancy to a child’s second birthday, if not properly taken care of, is irreversible and could lead to the development of chronic diseases later in life.

If a mother does not breastfeed her baby exclusively for the first six months of birth and later with timely and adequate complementary feeding till the child is two, there will be little or no control over what happens later in life. A good example is in cases where the pancreas is not properly formed, it will not produce enough insulin to prevent diabetes. That is why when such individual has grown with all the riches, resources and knowledge to eat right with adequate nutritional habits, the organs that were not properly formed during the first 1,000 days of the child’s life will not be able to handle or cope with those nutrients and they begin to have problems and fail.

So, once these diseases set in, no matter how wealthy you are, there is little or nothing that can be done to cure them, but such patients could manage and live with the disease throughout their lives. There is a need to better educate expectant and nursing mothers to make informed decisions regarding nutritional care in the first 1,000 days of their babies’ lives.  When you feed a baby with animal milk, it causes the cells in the baby’s body to increase in number and size, more than it should. This is why a young child will grow fat, become overweight or obese and even look older than his or her age.

Obesity comes with increased risk of chronic diseases and causes death such as hypertension, stroke, coronary heart disease, Type-2 diabetes, mental illness such as depression, breakdown of cartilage and bone within the joint and some cancers. Even when that obese child becomes an adult and tries slimming mechanisms, they may not work because those cells are still there in the body. Therefore, mothers refusing to breastfeed are rendering a disservice to themselves, the baby and to humanity. Also, when your child is fat, don’t take it as being healthy, that child is obese.

War against Chronic Disease Initiative (WACDi) is an NGO saddled with the task of eradicating chronic disease across Africa majorly through campaigns and sensitization on prevention schemes.

Prevention is always better than cure…

Olujide Mayowa Oyelade

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