Cyprus Mail

Study on Cypriot children shows organic diet lowers chances of obesity and type 2 diabetes

150 children in Cyprus aged 10 to 12 years followed an organic diet provided by a certified organic restaurant for 40 days

Following an organic diet for 40 days significantly reduces pesticide levels and levels of oxidative stress, a study just published in the American scientific journal Plos One shows.

The study was carried out by an international research team from the Cyprus International Institute for Environmental Health at the Cyprus University of Technology (Tepak) and Emory University under the EU funded Organiko programme.

150 children in Cyprus aged 10 to 12 years followed their usual diet for 40 days, a conventional diet in which fruits, vegetables and other foods may contain pesticide residues, and for another 40 days they followed an organic diet provided by a certified organic restaurant. More than 90 per cent of the children complied with the trial conditions.

The purpose of the study was to investigate whether a 40-day organic diet could reduce exposure to common pesticides such as 3-PBA and affect levels of oxidative stress/inflammation biomarkers in elementary school children.

The results confirmed that organic nutrition successfully reduces the levels. Oxidate stress is considered an early-stage marker for chronic conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and cancer while studies say high levels of 3-PBA adversely affect long-term neurobehavioral function.

According to the journal article, the benefits of the Organiko study are that a large number of children participated and the time period of 40 days was relatively long.

Organiko is a LIFE-co-funded project with a duration of four years, from 2015 to 2019. The ultimate goal of the project is to demonstrate the comparative advantages of organic versus conventional farming and products using indicators of mitigation efficiency to climate change, agronomic and environmental quality, decreased children exposures to diet-based pesticides and healthy food promotion for better children’s health.

An earlier Organiko study in Cyprus evaluated a school fruit scheme which lasted from 2012 to 2016. The research, published in 2017, recommended providing the greater use of organic products through cooperation with collective organisations of organic producers.

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