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 well-being. As nutrition is vital for body and mental development, malnutrition will result in abnormal growth and adverse effects on 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, minerals and fiber. These nutrients can be absorbed from daily diets and children are not encouraged 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 types, but also the quality and quantity. Food pyramid is a good tool to explain how to consume different kinds of food.
Rice and noodles not only supply energy for the body in 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 food groups.
Fruit & Vegetable
As the main sources of vitamins and minerals, they are essential for body and mental growth; boost immunity and prevent constipation.
Egg, Meat & Dairy
They provide protein and calcium required for child growth, which aid in cell repair, facilitate metabolism, 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. Excessive amount is unfavorable to health.
According to the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s survey, the obesity level of Hong Kong students has doubled in more than a decade – increased from 11.3% to 22.5% and from 8.9% to 16.8% for over weight boys and girls respectively. Researchers also found that 24- 44% of obese adults had the same problem in childhood. Moreover, more than 60% overweight children aged 5- 15 involve in at least 1 contributing factor of cardiovascular problems, increasing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and kidney dysfunction. Therefore kids are recommended to do more exercises, e.g. 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 fi ber snacks and fast food, results in unbalanced nutrition, thus over weight and under weight problems. A survey revealed that 43.2% children are picky eaters; 60% of them consume less than 1 serving of vegetables and 1 serving of fruits daily; nearly half of them often do not have 3 regular meals. Food picking affects nutrient absorption, causing vitamin and mineral deficiency. This will lead to growth delay and barriers in mental development. In addition to helping children quit such bad habits, parents can also consider the use of dietary supplements.
Importance of Having Breakfast
According to the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s research, more than 10% 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 and thus emotional instability. As breakfast is usually replaced by calorie-rich, nutrient-poor snacks, children become obese and deficient of minerals, affecting bone development.
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by Katalin Hidvegi
Building her Global business with Forever Living Since 2008. She is originally from Hungary, a mother of 3 boys.Working only part time she achieved Manager level in 2011 in Brooklyn, New York.
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