Experts Warn Excessive Sugar Consumption Poses Risks To Children's Vision and Health

Experts Warn Excessive Sugar Consumption Poses Risks To Children’s Vision and Health

By Itunu Azeez Kareem

22 November 2023   |  
3:15 pm

In a recent advisory, nutrition and eye specialists have underscored the potential hazards of excessive sugar consumption on children, suggesting that it may lead to low vision. Parents are urged to reconsider feeding their children sugar-laden foods, as it can significantly impact their growth and development. The specialists caution that the consequences of overindulgence in…

In a recent advisory, nutrition and eye specialists have underscored the potential hazards of excessive sugar consumption on children, suggesting that it may lead to low vision.

Parents are urged to reconsider feeding their children sugar-laden foods, as it can significantly impact their growth and development.

The specialists caution that the consequences of overindulgence in sugar extend beyond mere weight gain, obesity, and dental problems. They stress that both short-term and long-term vision issues, including blurred vision, difficulty seeing at night, and an elevated risk of developing myopia (near-sightedness), are associated with high sugar intake.

Speaking exclusively with media, Dr. John Kolawole, a paediatric ophthalmologist at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Kwara State, explained that high sugar intake can induce short-term changes in the eyes, causing temporary blurred vision, headaches, and eye strain. Dr. Kolawole further detailed that sugar might affect vision by elevating insulin levels, potentially leading to alterations in eye growth.

Moreover, the specialists highlighted a concerning link between excessive sugar intake and a condition known as retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). This condition occurs when the blood vessels in the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye, do not develop properly, and it poses a heightened risk of blindness, particularly in infants born prematurely.

Dr. Kolawole emphasized, “Studies have shown that high blood sugar levels, even in newborns, can contribute to the development of ROP. Sugar has been shown to hurt children’s eyesight.”

In addition to the physical effects, experts warn about the impact of sugar on cognitive development. Ede Ebele, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, stated that excessive sugar intake can lead to health problems such as obesity and dental issues in children. She stressed the importance of parents being aware of hidden sugars in their child’s diet, often present in processed foods and sweetened drinks.

Ebele noted, “High sugar intake predisposes the children to cardiovascular disease in the future, and not just now. They will not be able to enjoy normal natural food again. Children are still very young, as they are growing, children need a lot of nutrients. They need nutrient-based food and not empty calories.

When they are being loaded with empty calories, they are missing out on growth.” She further encouraged parents to limit their children’s sugar intake, adhere to recommended guidelines, and set positive examples by adopting healthy eating habits themselves.



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