National Nutrition Week 2018: Here's How You Can Eradicate Extreme Hunger And Malnutrition
The benefits of healthy eating not only include physical growth, but it also helps to keep them healthy, energetic, sharpens their mind, improves concentration, boosts immunity, stabilizes their moods and prevents hyperactive behavior.
National nutrition week 2018:Child nutrition and malnutrition status in india
- The problem among the urban children is the problem of malnutrition
- Childhood obesity is fast assuming epidemic proportions
- It takes a lot to inculcate healthy habits in children
Our children are the future of the nation; hence the need to focus on Child Nutrition. The benefits of healthy eating not only include physical growth, but it also helps to keep them healthy, energetic, sharpens their mind, improves concentration, boosts immunity, stabilizes their moods and prevents hyperactive behavior. It also helps them to develop a lifelong healthy relationship with food. The problem among the urban children is the problem of malnutrition amidst plenty. The problem is not non-availability of food but it lies in making wrong choices. The result is we have an increasing population of overweight/ obese kids who are otherwise deficient in nutrients.
The reasons for childhood obesity are well known - outdoor play time has been increasingly replaced by screen time and the all-pervasive presence of processed (read 'junk') foods.
Overweight or obese children are at an increased risk of lifestyle related disorders like diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, constipation, fissures, hypothyroidism, PCOD and infertility etc.
Improving the entire family's diet and exercise habits is the only fool proof way to ensure good health for the entire family.
- Encourage intake of natural whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, pulses, nuts and dairy. Minimize intake of refined grains like maida and its products like breads, pastas, pizzas, burgers and other bakery products.
- Introduce your child to all available seasonal fruits and vegetables by the age of 2 or 3.
- Children should be introduced to dishes traditionally consumed by our ancestors as per seasons and festivals.
- It is becoming increasingly difficult to bring around children to eat a variety of vegetables. A soft strategy to introduce foods like leafy veggies, broccoli, pumpkin etc. is to incorporate them into soups, sauces, dips, dishes like pav bhaji, kebabs and rolls.
- Limit intake of processed and packaged foods as they carry excess sugar, salt, fat and additives like preservatives, artificial colors, flavor enhancers etc.
- A very important strategy is not to buy any junk food. If you don't stock up colas, canned juices, chips, cookies, chocolates, instant noodles, ready-to-eat meals, sugary cereals etc, there are lesser chances that your child will eat it.
- Decide on a certain acceptable frequency of eating out or eating junk. Try to stick to the essential agreements and remember, if you falter, your child WILL falter.
- Make healthy substitutions in their favorite dishes. For example, while making pizza at home, make base out of whole wheat, prepare fresh tomato sauce and use fresh veggies and cheese as toppings.
- Serve small portions, portion control is one of the biggest fitness tools, do not feed forcibly.
- Encourage kids to recognize fullness signals. If you force them to eat after they are full now, they are very likely to learn to ignore fullness signals as they grow up and overeating becomes a way of life, paving the way for obesity.
- Lead by setting an EXAMPLE; exhibit eating practices which you want your kids to adopt. You can't be drinking a cola yourself and telling your child not to drink.
- Indulge your children in outdoor play; enroll them in a sport, dance classes or other such activities which encourage physical activity.
- Organize family outdoor events like playing a sport, cycling, camping, trekking, going for nature walks etc.
- Reduce sitting hours.
Do not body-shame them and do not compare them to anyone. Overweight or obese kids need to be dealt with a lot of sensitivity, love and patience. A few harsh words can jeopardize their self-esteem.
Remember, it takes a lot of patience and persistence to inculcate healthy habits in children; however, it's worth the effort. 'Eating better got easier when I can't have that turned into I don't want that'. Our kids are the future of our nation. Let's build a healthy nation!
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