“Tell me what you eat and i will tell you what you are.” Anthelme Brillat Savarin (1825)
Your little one is growing up quick. Your child’s growth and development is a continuous process and diet plays a vital role. Good food habits cannot be acquired overnight, they to be inculcated over the years and these years begin right from one’s childhood.
Earlier, a kid used to enter the school at the age of 5. Today, because of ever-changing things, a toddler is exposed to the world at as early as 16 months! This exposes toddlers to environmental stress, cravings and most of them fall prey to all or variety of infections.
Despite of all efforts kids are becoming overweight and fat. Parents are confused about kids diet. What quantity the kid needs? Is he obtaining enough calcium? Enough iron? an excessive amount of fat?
Kids also face new challenges concerning food selections and habits. Food choices are partially determined by what’s provided in class, at home, the influences from friends in class, and importantly the media – TV!
Our society’s propensities to gravitate toward convenience foods that tend to own high fat content are a serious determinant in our nutritional issues.
A number of the nutritional problems during this age include the following:
Overweight and obesity is increasingly becoming common in school-aged kids. Obesity is a nutritional disorder and is a major risk factor for many adulthood diseases. Studies indicate that youngsters have an excessive fat in their diets and are less physically active resulting in positive energy balance which can be a predisposition to womb-to-tomb health issues (cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity) in adulthood.
- EATING DISORDERS:
Eating disorder like anorexia and bulimia are more related to young age bracket. Lured by media information and alternative social pressures, some youngsters crave to be extraordinarily skinny. This extreme end of weight status is achieved by limiting food intake or by puking out the food eaten. It results in several nutritional deficiencies and lower self worth in these innocent creatures.
- TOOTH DECAY
Cavities are very common in school age kids. The danger of cavity is greatest with the regular consumption of sticky and starchy foods that gets clogged in the gaps between teeth (mithai, chocolates, sweets, sodas, juices and candies).
Iron-deficiency anemia is most typical in children whose diet is iron-deficient. Iron is an oxygen-carrying element of blood. Anemia in school-aged children could lead to lower school achievements because of impaired coginative development, poor attention span and general fatigue. Iron rich foods such as meats, fish, poultry, egg yolk, legumes, whole grain breads and raisins need to be included in diet. If required, iron supplements need to be taken with doctor’s advice.
- GROWTH FALTERING
Failure to thrive is a term that refers to a toddler whose weight or weight gain isn’t in line with children of the same age. Failure to thrive can be a symbol of medical conditions like chromosomal abnormalities, chronic infections, low birth weight and poor nutrition. If the kid looks too thin or short, falls ill quickly and fails to achieve developmental milestones, immediate medical help might be required.
- ALLERGY AND INTOLERANCE
Food allergies are common in school going children, with the foremost typical allergies being eggs, milk and peanuts. If your kid has allergic reaction after eating a particular food, that may have an effect on absorption and intake of certain nutrients. For instance, a milk allergy will have an effect on the calcium intake of the kid. Consulting a nutritionist for right substitutes can solve this issue.
- VITAMIN D-DEFICIENCY:
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that’s naturally present in only a few foods. Vitamin D deficiency occurs because of dietary inadequacy, impaired absorption and additional intake of extremely processed foods. It’s defined by softened bones; swelling (especially at wrists); leg bone bowing (bow legs); delayed dentition, poor immunity, muscle spasm etc.
Fish liver oil and flesh of salmon, tuna, mackerel, liver, cheese are some food sources of vitamin D.
Maintaining a good diet and regular exercise is very important especially for school-aged children (6-12 years). These children need a variety of foods coming from all food groups for optimal intake of all vitamins and minerals. Consuming generous amounts of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, 3 servings of milk, cheese or dairy product to satisfy their calcium demand, can prevent several medical issues. Adequate nutrition in school age will guarantee growth of these kids to their full potential, and supply the stepping stones to a healthy life!