Not for one moment do I imagine that life is easy for our kids.

Just consider the stress of being driven to school when you'd far rather walk, or having to put up with politically correct parenting and endless bewildering choices.

Do I take up hula hoop dancing this term, or simply make do with Easy Peasy Cantonese?

Last week I read that cream cakes and burgers are capable of confusing youngsters even further. According to scientists at Toronto University, too much saturated fat can clog up adolescent brains, resulting in impaired memory and concentration. We already know all about excess fat and weight gain, but what about excess fat and brain drain?

Studies such as these may encourage some parents to put their kids on very low-fat or fat-free diets which would be downright unhealthy for them. Brain tissue has a high concentration of fatty acids essential for normal development of the brain, eyes and nervous system. Children need a balance of healthy fats as both an energy source and for the construction of all body cells.

Saturated fats (found predominantly in meat, dairy products, palm and coconut oil) only cause health problems when we consume more of them than we can use, and when we eat too little of the good fats.

It 's important, therefore, not to lead too sedentary a lifestyle and to know your good fats from your bad ones. Beneficial fats, also known as essential fatty acids, are present in oily fish (mackerel, herring, sardine, salmon) nuts, seeds and cold-pressed seed oils such as flaxseed.

Try to eat fish a few times every week and a heaped tablespoon of ground seeds or a tablespoon of cold-pressed seed oil every day.

Bad fats have been refined, deodorised, heated, fried, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated (trans-fats). Another source of bad fats is sugar.

Many people aren't aware that the body makes saturated fatty acids from concentrated sources of sugar and refined starchy foods (eg white flour).

As well as turning into unwanted body fat, refined sugar lowers your energy levels and suppresses your immune function. So try to avoid it, you are already quite sweet enough!

To find out more about nutritional requirements for infants and children, go along to the third annual conference in support of children's health. This will take place on Thursday, May 3, 2001 at Regent's College, Regent's Park, London.

The conference will give anyone who is interested in children's well-being the chance to hear scientists talk about preconceptual preparation,toxic and environmental exposure, ADHD, Autism, Childhood Depression and Schizophrenia.

For details contact NS3UK on tel/fax 01344-360033 or email