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Wednesday, 7 January 2015

The Importance of Healthy Kids-Parents Nutrition, and Physical Activities in Children



It is becoming more and more imperative that we pay more attention to the physical (health) and nutritional needs of our children. This increasing awareness is too important these days due to the very fact that social behaviours have rapidly changed and have continued to change in recent decades. Thus with the onslaught of fast foods and fast food joints especially  on the highly impressionable growing population, we must begin to seriously express more concern in respect of the way children are tending to develop these days.

A balanced diet
The concern is on the need for parents to be educated so they can properly guide their children on proper nutrition as well as the need for regular physical activities or exercise even in the lives of their children. The problem is such a big one in that both the developed and the underdeveloped societies have come under the burden of the resultant effect of unhealthy eating habits which have seen many children manifesting a dangerous trend that is likely to devastate the world population in the very near decades to come if left unchecked.

Children need to be guided aright
 It is a fact to note that a healthy dietary pattern coupled with the required physical activities among growing children is what is needed for a healthy growth and the maintenance of a good body weight so that they may grow into equally healthy adults. A good eating habit or behaviour will enable children to grow up with a good immune system which will strengthen their resistance against sicknesses and diseases. 
 The education that both parent and child require is that which enlightens them on the need to adopt specific nutritional behaviours such as the importance of consuming less fat and sodium; they also ought to eat more fruits and vegetables.  Also, parents and care givers need to be aware of the importance of nutritious foods, especially at the early stage of child development. You also need to know that the best first meal of your child immediately after delivery is the mother’s breast milk and not any form of infant formula as the modern generations especially of the developing world, are wont to prefer.

As a parent you should know that a balanced diet should consist of all the six classes of nutrients namely – Carbohydrates, Protein, Fat & oil, Vitamins, Mineral salts, and Water. When you fail to inculcate these attitudes in your children, and implement this course of action, what we see is a generation growing up on unwholesome diets including junk foods. As a result children easily fall sick; they are malnourished, low in intelligence which also manifests in poor academic performance. These children may also manifest stunted growth and of course a low immune system, and even obesity, etc.

In our local communities however, and all around us, it is not difficult to identify all of the foods that are nourishing enough to meet up with the nutritional demands of a healthy population especially in children. These food items need not be expensive to make a balanced meal, but only a careful and informed selection is all we need. You have all you will need in the available local staples in cassava, yam, sweet potatoes, rice, millet, guinea corn, soya beans, beans, cocoyam, fish, crayfish, meat, domestic birds, variety of fruits and vegetables, palm oil, groundnuts, etc.


In addition, I need to stress the importance of a healthy and free bowel movement both in children and adults. This is very crucial in that these days, apart from the knowledge of a balanced diet, you must be equipped with the following important nutritional facts:

Children are the hope of tomorrow

*      Avoid as much as possible the consumption of processed foods
*      Feed your children on whole foods i.e. foods rich in natural fibre or roughage
*      Do not overcook your vegetables
*      Wash your vegetables before cutting them
*      You should stop giving your children fast foods and soft drinks in their (school) lunch packs
*      Make your children drink water after meals and not the so called fruit juices, and carbonated drinks which they naturally will prefer
*      Limit children’s consumption of sweet foods and drinks such as cakes, sweets and soft drinks, etc.


By Morgan Nwanguma

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