Diet and nutrition are key factors in the health and growth of a child. Children require lots of nutrients and minerals to help their bodies develop all the necessary functions and the quality of food they eat will have a big impact on their health. An important thing to note is that the implications of a poor diet are often not apparent until later in life and so negative issues can go unnoticed in childhood.
Aside from the implications to health, there are other critical factors to consider. Research indicates that basic brain function and even behavioural patterns can be influenced by the diet a child eats, and this has a direct impact on academic performance and attainment.
Brain Development: Poor nutrition has been shown to restrict brain development and IQ levels in many children, and may cause problems with attention span and behaviour.
Healthy Growth: The body grows exponentially in size during childhood, but it needs the right nutrients and energy to make this happen—especially to build bones and keep important areas healthy as they grow.
Lower Obesity Rates: Obesity affects nearly one in three children. It’s a very common cause or risk factor for conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.
Healthy Choices: Setting the proper baseline for your child helps ensure they’ll make healthier choices throughout their lives, even when you aren’t around to help them.
Children’s eating patterns and food preferences are established at a young age and it is important that they become accustomed to eating a balanced diet which includes fruit and vegetables. If children eat too many unhealthy meals, they will develop an instinctive need for unhealthy food when they feel hunger. The opposite will happen if they eat nutrition from a young age, the feeling of hungry will instinctively lead to healthy eating habits.
The importance of a balanced diet cannot be overstated. Eating food containing important nutrients helps children grow, and is essential for children’s mental and physical development.