Child Obesity is the trending topic of current times. Research says that one out of three children in America are obese. The media and Internet are running articles at supersonic frequency about obesity in children. The tsunami of information about obesity in children has not been able to address the issue though. Parents are still not clear about what, when and how much! The biggest tool to combat and manage obesity is proper nutrition. The questions that most parents ponder are:
What is complete nutrition for a child? Where and how to draw the line between nutrition and obesity. How to fulfill body’s requirements for the right amount of vitamins, protein, iron, fats, etcetera?
A child’s physical as well as mental growth and development is highly dependent on what he or she eats. While the infants get their nutrition mostly from milk- breast milk or formula, older children need a well balanced diet to grow. Whatever the age of the child there are some “holy grails of nutrition!”
Various stages of childhood from infancy to teenage subjects parents to a variety of food challenges, but, isn’t that part of the package? Parenthood is all about challenges!
Coming back to the holy grails of nutrition, Calcium is one of the most important necessities in a well balanced diet. Milk is the unrivalled food component that fulfills this requirement. While most children get their calcium from milk, tofu, oatmeal, soymilk are few other options to suffice this need. Apart from calcium, fiber, iron, and protein also fall in this list of holy grails of nutrition. While fiber aids digestion and supports healthy functioning of the digestive organs, protein is important to build strength, muscles, and provide sustenance to the body. Iron deficiency results in low blood count and may cause conditions like anemia. Whole grains, fruit, fibrous vegetables, beans, and legumes are good source of fiber. Eggs, beans, and legume are also rich in protein.
Fat is another important component of nutrition. Right amount of fat is very important for the healthy functioning of the body. While too much fat causes obesity, too less fat will stunt good growth in a growing child especially in toddlers and teens!
“You don’t want to restrict fats under age two because a healthy amount of fat is important for babies’ brain and nerve development,” says Dr. Jennifer Shu, M.D., FAAP, a pediatrician at Children’s Medical Group in Atlanta and co-author Food Fights: Winning the Nutritional Challenges of Parenthood Armed with Insights, Humor, and a Bottle of Ketchup, published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
Along with age, gender too demands variations for a complete nutrition when children enter teenage. A teenage girl would require more iron compared to a teenage boy who would benefit from more protein!
Last but not the least, water is another important aspect, which keeps the body functioning and running well. Drinking minimum eight glasses of water is a healthy habit that should be cultivated in children. Some fruits and vegetables that have high water content are also a great way to incorporate water in our system.
Different stages of development of a child from infancy to youth are a journey for children as well as their parents. Correct nutrition is very important not only to cut down obesity but also to raise healthy adults.
Dealing with toddler tantrums to teenage qualms and yet raising healthy adults is no less than an exam every parent needs to pass!
“Let’s raise children who won’t have to recover from their childhoods.”
― Pam Leo
Childhood Nutrition. (n.d.). Retrieved February 07, 2016, from https://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/nutrition/Pages/Childhood-Nutrition.aspx
Pam Leo. (n.d.). Retrieved February 07, 2016, from http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/329779.Pam_Leo