Good nutrition is essential during childhood.
It is a time of rapid growth, development and activity.
General eating habits and patterns are formed in the first few years of life.
As children become more independent, they can take greater responsibility for their own health, safety and wellbeing.
There are some simple steps that parents can take to ensure their children have a healthy diet, including providing plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, limiting sugary drinks and snacks, and teaching children about the importance of good nutrition.
By taking these steps at an early age, parents can help their children develop lifelong healthy eating habits.
A nutritious diet helps children maintain a healthy weight, avoid chronic diseases in later life
such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes, and promotes optimal brain development. When children eat nutritious foods, they tend to do better in school, have more energy to engage in physical activity, are less likely to get sick, and are more likely to reach their full potential as adults.
A healthy diet should include plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean protein sources, and healthy fats.
We should also limit sugary drinks, snacks and processed foods.
It is also important to ensure that children are getting enough of the key nutrients they need for proper growth and development, such as iron, calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin C.
This is also a vital time for healthy tooth development and the prevention of decay.
Improving nutrition for children will require a concerted effort by parents, caregivers, teachers, policymakers, and the food industry.
But it is an investment that will pay off in healthier generations to come.
New research is showing just how closely nutrition is linked to our emotions.
A recent study looked at the brain networks associated with controlling feeding and found that they are closely linked to emotion.
This makes sense when you consider that serotonin, a chemical that helps regulate sleep, appetite and moods, is mostly produced in the gut.
In other words, our digestive system plays a big role in guiding our emotions.
The findings suggest that children who are well-nourished are more likely to have positive emotional experiences, while those who are malnourished are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression.
Providing children with nutritious meals, then, is an important part of ensuring their emotional wellbeing.
Without adequate amounts of the right nutrients, it has been proven that children can suffer from a range of problems that can adversely affect their health and development.
For example, undernutrition can cause children to have less energy and trouble concentrating in
class, which negatively affects their cognitive development and academic performance.
It also affects physical growth and maturation and body height and weight.
It’s no secret that childhood obesity is a growing problem in developed countries around the World.
While there are many contributing factors, one of the most important is lack of physical activity. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, “in 2014-15, one in four children aged 2-17 years were overweight or obese”.
Not only does this have major implications for their health and wellbeing now, but it also puts them at risk for a lifetime of chronic diseases.
The good news is that physical activity can help prevent obesity, and every child needs opportunities every day to be physically active.
Whether it’s running around at the park or playing tag with friends, children need time to burn off energy and practice new physical skills.
Getting young kids to adopt healthy habits can be a challenge.
That’s why it’s so important for parents and other caregivers, such as educators, to model positive behaviour.
Children learn by example, so if they see the people around them living active, healthy lives, they’re more likely to do the same.
Providing children with the right information is vital. There are guidelines provided by the government and other organisations to make informed choices about what to feed their children and how much activity they should be getting.
By working together, we can give all children the foundation they need to lead happy, healthy lives.
Thankfully, proper nutrition with active play can help prevent these problems.
By ensuring that your child is getting the right nutrients and exercise, you can help them build a
foundation for a lifetime of good health.
– Cire Early Learning