As the country is caught between rising child obesity on one hand and malnutrition on the other, a third challenge that is rapidly emerging is the micronutrient deficiency in children due to wrong eating habits.
Addressing a Facebook Live session for the parents of Ryan Group of Institutions recently, Priya Karkera, Head of Nutrition at Fitterfly – that assesses nutrition and fitness in children, in an interactive session with parents pointed out that child obesity is going to rise at an alarming rate from 76 million to 91 million by the year 2025.
Stressing upon the need for balance diet with adequate intake of protein, carbohydrate including calcium, iron and micro-nutrients like Omega-III that is required for the child’s immunity and brain development, Karkera said, “If the child is able to consume home-made preparation, he can be kept away from packaged food as also from supplements, unless there is a medical advice.”
“Serve fewer options of food to your children so that they can choose wisely. More options will lead to confusion. A proper diet with protein and fibre may help the child stay fit, but without physical fitness, it may not be 100 percent complete,” she said.
Stating that we have poverty amid plenty with several eating options available, the trend of increasing impulse eating after having dinner among children is on the rise as homes are filled with stocks of four pots of variety of biscuits or snacks.
Encouraging kids to opt for physical activity, Karkera pointed out that parents must ensure that that the children indulge in physical activity and not get addicted to games on mobile apps.
Karkera also cautioned the parents to avoid opting for change in diet on hearsay and self-practising without proper consultation with a good nutritionist. Skipping a breakfast can make a child uncomfortable and drastic change in eating habits can be dangerous. Breakfast is breaking the fast as one consumes it after eight hours with dinner being the last meal and hence it must have a combination of carbohydrate and a good amount of biological value protein.
Appreciating Karkera’s advice at the FB Live session, Neti Srinivasan, chief operating officer of Ryan Group of Institutions, said, “Physical health along with mental health is a core area that we as a school are critically trying to address among our students as much teaching them academics. While sports and physical education is part of the school curriculum, we also want to guide the parents of these children in imparting a balance diet to keep them agile and fit.”
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