All parents hope that their children grow healthily and have strong physique. This largely depends on healthy diets and balanced nutrition given to children for normal growth and development, malnutrition will result in abnormal growth and adverse effect health. However, excessive nutrition may lead to obesity, diabetes and hypertension.
The 7 major nutrients needed by the body are protein, fat, carbohydrate, water, vitamins, mineral, and fiber. These nutrients can be absorbed from daily diets and children are not encourage to over-eat or picky on food. For the sake of balance nutrition, good dietary habits should be developed which focuses not only on food type, but also the quality and quantity. Food Pyramid is a good tool to explain how to consume different kinds of food.
Grain – rice and noodles not only supply energy for the body in the form of starch and carbohydrates but also contain abundant fiber, protein, vitamins A, B, E, phosphorous, iron and potassium, etc. The consumption is the highest among all good groups
Fruits & Vegetable – as the main sources of vitamins and minerals, they are essential for the body and mental growth; bossing immunity, and preventing constipation.
Egg, Meat & Dairy – they provide protein and calcium required for child growth, aid in cell repair, facilitated metabolism and maintain bone and tooth health. But excessive consumption will give rise to obesity and high cholesterol.
Salt, Sugar & Fat – such foods at the top of the pyramid should be eaten sparingly because they can also be obtained from other food groups. An excessive amount is unfavorable for health.
According to the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s survey, the obesity level of Hongkong students has doubled in more than a decade – increases from 11.3% to 22.5% from 8.9% to 16.8% for overweight boys and girls respectively.
Researchers also found that 24-44% of obese adults had the same problem in childhood. Moreover. more than 60% of overweight children age 5-15 involve at least one contributing factor of cardiovascular problems, increasing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and kidney dysfunction.
Therefore kids are recommended to do more exercise, eg. jogging, swimming and cycling for 30 minutes each time, 3-6 days weekly and consume more fruits and vegetables.
No Food Picking
Food Picking, coupled with eating high fat and low fiber snacks and fas food, results in unbalanced nutrition, causes overweight and underweight problems. A survey revealed that 43.2% children are picky eaters; 60% of them consume less than one serving of vegetables and one serving of fruits daily; nearly half of them often do not have three regular meals.
Food picking affects nutrients absorption, causing vitamin and mineral deficiency. This will lead to growth delays and barriers in mental development. In addition, parents can also consider the use of dietary supplements.
Important of Having Breakfast
According to the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Research, more than 10% of primary students skip breakfast, but they gain weight because of eating more snacks. Experts find that skipping breakfast will affect brain development, causing low concentration, lower blood sugar level,s and thus emotional instability. As breakfast is usually replaced by calorie-rich, nutrient-poor snacks. children become obese and deficient of minerals, affecting bones developement
Top 10 Tips to Prevent Childhood Obesity
Nowadays, childhood obesity is a major public health concern, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years. Being obese increases their risk of getting chronic disease as most of the obese children tend to be obese in their adulthood. A similar worrying trend is seen in many other countries.
- Ensure your kids eat breakfast every day. Children who take nutritious breakfast daily are less likely to be obese.
- Serve healthy and nutritious meals for your kids
- Offer your kids a wide range of healthy food from an early age.
- Reduce your kid’s intake of fast foods, oily foods, and junk foods.
- Reduce your kid’s intake of sweetened drinks and soft drinks
- Educate children about the importance of having a healthy diet.
- Eat moderately in front of children; Parents are important role models for their children’s eating habits.
- Increase their physical activity and cut down the time spending in front of the TV, and computer.
- Spend time together with your kids doing exercises like jogging, brisk walking, and swimming
- encourage your kids to drink more water, at least 1 liter per day.