Are organic foods better for kids?

The jury is still out on whether eating organic foods offers kids greater health benefits than conventional foods, concludes a report out today by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Based on an analysis of scientific studies surrounding organic produce, dairy products and meat, the report says that the health advantages are inconclusive.

“Current evidence does not support any meaningful nutritional benefits or deficits from eating organic compared with conventionally grown foods, and there are no well-powered human studies that directly demonstrate health benefits or disease protection as a result of consuming an organic diet,” it says.

The report does cite lower pesticides in organic produce and potentially lower risk of exposure to drug-resistant bacteria, but the needed long-term studies do not yet exist to show that eating pesticide-free food makes people healthier, says Joel Forman, an associate professor of pediatrics at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York and co-author of the report, in November’s issue of the journal Pediatrics.

It was released at the academy’s meeting in New Orleans.

“We don’t really have a 100 percent answer,” says Forman.

A study released in September in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine concluded that organic products have no significant nutritional advantage over conventional foods, even though consumers often pay more than them. For that report, researchers looked at 240 studies conducted from 1966 to 2011 covering nutrient and contaminant levels in foods.

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