Provide your children with health every day

Provide your children with health every day

Have you ever thought what would be the best and most important gift you could give your children?

Too many times we chase material gifts, made out of duty and often expensive, which one day (soon) will be set aside and forgotten.

But the most important gift you can really give your children is made up of small daily gestures, which in the future will give them health and well-being.

Give them a healthy lifestyle and a healthy diet, and they will be grateful to you for life! The health and well-being of our children depends on us as parents and on our choices.

BAD EATING HABITS

Candy, sweets, and ice cream have always been offered to children when they behave... But our children are not circus animals to be given a prize for having performed a command well!

Today's children are the adults of tomorrow, and it is our responsibility to educate them about their health and well-being, so that in the future they will be happy adults, aware of what’s good for them.

And this is something we need to think about.

Figures from the Ministry of Health speak for themselves!

Unfortunately, they show that 8% of children skip breakfast while 33% consume an inadequate breakfast (unbalanced in terms of carbohydrates and proteins) and 53% have a rich mid-morning snack (not adequate). Furthermore, 20% of parents say that their children do not consume fruit and/or vegetables daily and 36% say that their children drink sugary and/or carbonated drinks daily.

Moreover, although national epidemiological data show that childhood obesity is, to date, slightly decreasing, the percentages of overweight and obese children remain incredibly high (Data from the Ministry of Health, Okkio alla Salute 2016) with

  • 3% of children that are overweight and
  • 3% of children that are obese.

And despite the data, it appears that 37% of mothers of children with weight issues do not acknowledge their children’s excess weight.

Obesity is one of the main public health problems, and in most cases it is linked to improper lifestyles. If present in childhood, it is associated with an earlier onset of typical adult illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia, resulting in early exposure to the main known risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. Once established, childhood obesity is a very difficult condition to treat, and over 60% of children who are overweight before puberty will be so even in the early stage of adulthood.

If we assume that proper nutrition and weight management when it comes to our children are a recognized determinant of chronic diseases not only in the future but also in childhood (as metabolic syndrome or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is a sad reality even for overweight or obese children and not just adults), we must focus greater attention to this issue especially in everyday life, and not fall into wrong behaviours that we may perpetuate just to keep children calm and happy.

We can start by stopping the handing out of candy, sweets, and ice cream as a rule and as a reward, choosing healthy snacks such as fresh fruit (which according to the Okkio alla Salute survey is not consumed enough by children), and adapting snacks to the calories and energy a child is really consuming: if a fruit is too little, for example, you can always add a few nuts!

Take a look at the links below to learn more about this very important issue from the official EpiCentro website, certified by the WHO:

http://www.epicentro.iss.it/okkioallasalute/

http://www.epicentro.iss.it/GuadagnareSalute/

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Elena Ronchi for Nuturally

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