Beyoncé’s twins: Is it genes or can we give our babies the same start as Beyoncé and Jay-Z?
Beyoncé has sent the internet into a spin, posting her first pictures on Instagram of her beautiful twins, Sir Carter and Rumi, 1 month today. As always Queen B looks regal and “ethereal”, dressed in a cascading dress, swirled with soft purples bathing the twins. A delicate blue veil completes the breath-taking image. But are Beyoncé’s twins the luckiest pair born, blessed with good looks, musical talent and delivered into a world of fame and wealth? Can we give our babies the same “royal” start to life?
The first 1000 days of life
Despite Beyoncé’s twins born into a life of luxury, the first 1000 days of life are critical determinants of survival, growth and well being no matter what genetic makeup you have or what country you live in. This early stage of life is a period of important rapid growth and development. From the 1st day of life to 2 years, this critical window of opportunity will shape long term health as organs and tissues are being formed and developed. It doesn’t matter if your mum is the world’s biggest female pop star, like Beyoncé or your dad is a million dollar rapper, like Jay-Z, just being blessed with these genes is not enough.
There is significant evidence to show a child’s development is not only determined by genetics but also the environment in an 20:80 ratio. This means that Beyoncé and Jay-Z genes only make up 20% of the twins lifelong health. 80% of disease risk in later life is due to the environment including nutrition, healthy eating habits and lifestyle. More importantly, the 1st 1000 days influences the babies response to adult exposures to the environment that can result in development of diseases. This is called metabolic imprinting.
Influence on Obesity
Beyoncé’s twins may have the best chefs and cooks at hand, but it is the quality and quantity of nutrition in this 1st 1000 days can have a profound effect later in life on the development of diseases such as asthma, diabetes, obesity and heart disease. There is also good supporting evidence that pre-natal stress has an impact on obesity and metabolic dysfunction. You do not need to have luxury and wealth to feed your children nutrient dense foods that are full of macronutrients that will influence their metabolic function. It is also important to remove foods that are highly processed that have a high proportion of sugar and fat from your house. It is never too late, to remove these foods which contribute to weight gain and obesity and change the palate and taste demands of your family.
How can you give your babies the best start to life even if you are not a rock star?
Nutrition in early life has a major impact on physical and brain development, the immune system and digestive health. It is also a key time to develop healthy eating habits of the infant. The benefits of breast feeding are unrivalled and if a mother can do it, the WHO recommends it is continued up to 1-2 years. During the weaning phase after 1 year, babies embark on a period of rapid growth and importantly eating behaviour development which would shape the choices they make later in life. Besides needing 7 times more nutritional requirements than an adult, this is a key time in development of autonomy and choice. We also know that parental styles can have a profound impact on later adult eating behaviour.
Be a good role model
There is no doubt that Beyoncé’s twins have been given a head start in genes and wealth. But as mentioned, your influence and what you feed your babies in the 1st 1000 days as an enormous impact on their nutritional and physical development and their adult eating habits. Beyoncé and Jay- Z may have nannies, help at hand, the best chefs to feed the twins, but you don’t need all that to give your children nutrient dense food choices and teach them healthy eating habits which will prevent them from developing diabetes, obesity and heart disease in later life. Your don’t need to sell million dollar records to give your kids a million dollar head start.
Photos taken from Beyoncé’s Instagram account
Written by Dr Marlene Tham, Director of Medical & Mind Weight Loss, online proven medical & psychological weight loss programs.