Little Evidence Organic Food Better in Long Run: Report
But pediatricians' group acknowledged that lower pesticide levels may be better for growing brainBy Maureen Salamon
MONDAY, Oct. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Parents weighing the value of feeding their children organic foods should understand there's little evidence to back the notion that such fare is healthier in the long run than conventionally produced food, though lower pesticide levels in organic products may be better for children's developing brains, a new report finds.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), in a first-ever review of the impact of organic foods on children, also said organically raised animals don't contribute to the growing problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, another significant benefit. Also, the review authors said public concern that growth hormones used to increase milk production in cows can cause health problems -- which leads some to buy expensive organic meat and milk -- is unfounded, according to the report, because bovine growth hormone is biologically inactive in humans.
"The most important issue is that parents shouldn't limit healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables, because they want organic food, if they can't afford it," said report co-author Dr. Janet Silverstein, a professor of endocrinology at University of Florida in Gainesville. "There may be families that choose to consume smaller quantities of organic products, thus reducing the healthy foods they eat. Our take-home message is that a healthy diet is most important and that parents need to weigh whether to buy organic foods or not once they get past the issue of a healthy diet."
The report was released Monday at the AAP's national conference in New Orleans and is published online Oct. 22 and in the November print issue of the journal Pediatrics.
Coming on the heels of a controversial Stanford University study on organic versus conventional foods published last month, the AAP report repeated many of the same main points, including the fact that organic foods have the same vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, proteins, lipids and other nutrients as conventional foods. Both studies, which reviewed extensive research published on the topic over many years, also noted the difficulty of reaching solid conclusions because research examining long-term human health effects is scant.