The importance of a balanced diet is becoming heavily featured in today’s press with reports on statistics about childhood obesity and obesity related illnesses on the uprise; so it is evermore important for children to be given a head start by eating healthy foods which will be beneficial to them throughout their life.
A balanced diet among children is especially important because they are constantly growing and their bodies and brains are still developing.
A combination of a healthy balanced diet with exercise will help a child stay at what medical professionals call a ‘healthy’ weight. As a general rule, children who have a healthy body weight have plenty of fruit and veg, wholegrain foods and lean proteins in their diets rather than sugary items as well as exercising regularly.
It is thought that children who eat a balanced diet whilst growing up have a decreased risk of being overweight as an adult as the healthy eating habits are more likely to stick with them for life.
Making sure that children consume a sufficient amount of calcium and vitamin D will decrease the risk of bone related issues at a later point in life.
It is also important to think of your child’s immune system. A strong immune system is vital so that the body can fight off illness and infection which is very important for a child as it means less time spent ill form school and important lessons. This will even have a positive effect on concentration at school as well!
What are the health risks that can be associated with having a poor diet?
One of the biggest worries that doctors have today is childhood obesity, which is regularly linked with type 2 diabetes, problems with joints and a higher risk of heart complications later in life. Children who have fewer fruit and vegetables in their diet and consume a high amount of junk and processed foot have an increased risk of childhood obesity. Up until a few years ago type 2 diabetes was associated with older people (40+) but now this form of diabetes is beginning to present in young children as well. Diabetes itself puts people at increased health risks such as kidney conditions.
Vitamins and minerals are, as well all know, very important for our bodies. A child who has an iron deficiency can become tired and lethargic as well as suffering from poor concentration. Vitamin B 12 is also beneficial for brain health and aids concentration.
Despite already touching on calcium and vitamin D, what are the actual health risks from having a deficiency? Vitamin D deficiency can cause a disease found in children called rickets, which has popped back into the press this past year due to cases of the disease creeping back up. The risks of rickets include skeletal malformations and stunted growth.
How can we prevent it?
Naturally, this doesn’t mean that your children will necessarily be affected by childhood obesity as these are pure facts.
There are multiple things to help your children to avoid these types of health related problems and the majority of you will be doing all of them already!
The most important meal of the day is of course breakfast, despite many adults getting into a bad habit of skipping breakfast due to busy schedules, it is incredibly important that children go to school on a full stomach. If not they may find that they start to feel very hungry during the morning which affects their concentration levels.
One good way for your children to eat healthily is to lead by example, children will (usually) be far more open to trying new foods if they see their parents eating them. By making healthy food choices, children will feel fuller for longer and aren’t as likely to want junk food after their meal, which won’t fill the void for long. Eating junk food causes your blood sugar level to increase temporarily but then it will crash back down which will have an affect on mood and concentration.
Promoting an active lifestyle is also incredibly important, which we realise can be difficult with an increasing culture of video games and sitting watching television programmes. One of the best ways to motivate your children to get off the couch and outdoors is to buy them a wooden climbing frame. Here at Climbing Frames Ireland we are firm believers that outdoor play is very important for children, and a climbing frame is a perfect way for them to be outdoors but enjoy it without realising that in actual fact it counts as exercise!