Thursday, March 22, 2018

Lead and Nutrition: What's the Connection?


All children need to be tested for lead at one year old and two years old.  Along with pediatricians, the Clinton County Health Department helps identify children who have lead poisoning.  When children have high lead levels I can teach families how to keep their homes clean of lead dust and what to eat to help decrease lead in the body. I can help you in person at your home or offer you information that can be mailed to you. Since it is National Nutrition Month, I have some information below that is helpful to keep you and your children healthy!

Did You Know

Eating a healthy diet could help prevent childhood lead poisoning?  A diet rich in calcium, iron, and Vitamin C, can help reduce the absorption of lead into the body.  Lead poisoning can cause learning, growth and behavioral problems in young children. Click here to find out the dietary recommendations for your child. 

This is How It Works

Lead dust is either inhaled, when it’s kicked-up into the air, or ingested, when objects contaminated with lead are put into the mouth.  Once lead gets into the blood stream it tricks the body into thinking it is calcium and gets absorbed into the bones, brain and nervous system. Lead is also absorbed into the body faster on an empty stomach or if the diet is high in fat.

Here’s What You Can Do

·         Identify and remove all sources of lead exposure.

·         Wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before eating and before naps and bedtime.

·         Wash all fruits and vegetables before cooking or eating.

·          Eat four to six small meals or snacks throughout the day to keep your stomach full and reduce the body’s absorption of lead.

o    Foods high in calcium:  milk or milk products, green leafy vegetables, salmon, calcium-fortified foods like tofu, orange juice and soy milk.

o   Iron rich foods: lean red meat, eggs, fortified cereals, bread, pasta, dried fruit, beans and lentils.

o   Don’t forget your Vitamin C!  It is commonly found in citrus fruits such as cantaloupe, strawberries, mangos, and melons as well as in peppers, tomatoes and potatoes.

For more information call the Clinton County Health Department at 518-565-4848 and ask to speak to a Lead Poison Prevention Program Nurse or visit http://www.clintonhealth.org/leadpoisoning.

Noreen Wolansky, RN

Registered Professional Nurse