0800 040 7526
Nutrition for children is often seen to be less important that eating in adults. They are growing, after all, so surely they can have what they want? Not entirely. The most recent large scale survey in the UK reveals some startling facts; 25% of boys and 33% of girls aged between 2 and 19 are overweight or obese. The trend is upwards and shows little sign of slowing. Obesity has been shown to shorten life by an average of 9 years and costs the country around £2 billion a year. In addition, children who are overweight are much more likely to stay that way into adulthood; our tastes are shaped by what we eat when we are little.
The rise in overweight children has also added an element of safety in numbers. Parents are becoming so used to seeing children who are overweight that they are failing to recognise the condition in their own children. A recent study at the University of Plymouth revealed that 3/4 of parents failed to recognise an overweight child, more than half of fathers perceived their child’s weight to be “about right” when in fact they were obese and one in ten parents expressed concern that their child was underweight when in fact they were overweight.
The basic reason for this increase in child obesity is of course that children are eating too many fatty processed foods while not doing enough exercise.
Use the following tips to ensure your child grows up a healthy and happy weight:
We all have been told that white bread is bad for us. But how bad? The answer is very; one slice contains the same as 4 sachets of sugar. one bagel is the same as 4 slices of white bread. TRy to encourage bread avoidance and encourage whole foods.
Children should only eat a handful of carbohydrates in a single meal. If cooking pasta or rice try to make sure that it is the wholemeal variety which has more fibre and will release its energy more slowly.
Be careful and aware about salt. There is more salt in nearly every type of precessed food than you would imagine. 4-6 year olds should only have 3g a day. Two slices of toast with butter contain nearly two thirds of that. One serving of ketchup contains nearly 1g. many cereals contain more salt than a bag of crisps. Read the label!
Sugar is also everywhere. Seemingly healthy fruit smoothies contain the same amount of sugar as a full fat coke. Cereals are again guilty, containing lots of hidden sugar, the exceptions being Weetabix, shredded wheat, all bran and porridge. All fruit juices also contain large quantities of sugar.