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Give kids the best start with healthy eating
Published 17/11/14



CHILDHOOD obesity is at an all-time high! Twenty-five per cent of children aged from two to 19 are clinically obese.

Shockingly these numbers are not slowing down. This issue comes because as your child is growing they demand different energy sources to support this growth all throughout their development. If given improper nutrition, they are risking bone and muscle mass development, learning ability, and increasing the risk of early disease such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

Emphasise better food choices over dieting. It’s never a good idea to give your child the impression that they should be restricting their food intake. This can lead to negative associations with food and could foster the development of an eating disorder.

Instead, you want to help your child make smarter choices when they are hungry. While you don’t want to enforce food restriction, you should enforce them listening to their body’s own hunger signals. This is the best way to get them in the habit of correlating their hunger with their food intake at a young age. Then down the road they will be less likely to eat for reasons other than hunger and more likely to stop eating once they are full.

Aim to teach your children the importance of regularly including fruits and vegetables in their day along with healthy sources of protein such as eggs, chicken, full fat dairy and fish that is unprocessed, so the turkey dinosaurs should be made extinct!

Try to steer them away from large quantities of very carb-heavy sources such as pasta, large quantities of bread, and all the various sugar-loaded snack foods that are available in a wrapper.

Instead focus on wholegrains like porridge, brown rice, and some starch such as carrots, sweet potatoes, parsnips etc. By getting them on to these sources at a younger age, there is less of a chance they develop incorrect food choices most of the time.

Another reason of obesity is not enough physical activity. Limit playing video games and watching TV. They need to be outside playing and burning calories! Don’t be afraid to join them — after all, this is your health too, right? Encourage them to experience as many different activities as possible. Find out which one they love, and focus on that, see if you can make a walk into a game of tag, or chasing each other. You will enhance their respect for you as well as enhancing their experiences of being active.

Educating yourself as well as your child about being healthy instead of dictating is also essential. One of the main causes of obesity is the over-consumption of sugar. This is simply because we turn a blind eye or are simply unaware of the negative effects it can have. One important fact is that having a high sugar diet leads to increased insulin levels, which leads to an increase in the hormone androgen, which then leads to increase in sebum resulting in a spot and could lead to excessive acne.

So you could potentially increase a child’s self-esteem as well as their health, by taking action and educating yourself a little more for their wellbeing.

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PUBLISHED 17/11/14

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