Tag Archives: healthy children

How and Why to Teach Nutritional Awareness to Children

“This morality fable preaches the importance of proper diet, as well as physical and moral fitness.”

Piggy is the epitome of an irresponsible glutton, spendthrift, and wastrel.  Her uncontrolled eating symbolizes her irresponsibility in dealing with life.  The moral message to children is to watch what they eat and not let themselves get out of shape like Piggy, who consumes vast quantities of butter, cakes, and other fat-laden foods to the point where her clothes no longer fit her and the only one attracted to her is the wolf who only cares about her as his next meal.

How and Why to Teach Nutritional Awareness to Children

teaching nutrition to children

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is a great resource for health and nutrition information.

America today suffers from “an epidemic of obesity.”  Nearly one in three children is severely overweight.  According to the Center for Disease Control:

  • Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years.
  • The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 18% in 2010. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to 18% over the same period.
  • In 2010, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.

Overweight is defined as having excess body weight for a particular height from fat, muscle, bone, water, or a combination of these factors.3 Obesity is defined as having excess body fat.

Overweight and obesity are the result of “caloric imbalance”—too few calories expended for the amount of calories consumed—and are affected by various genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors.

Childhood obesity has both immediate and long-term effects on health and well-being.

healthy children playing

Immediate health effects:

  • Obese youth are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. In a population-based sample of 5- to 17-year-olds, 70% of obese youth had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
  • Obese adolescents are more likely to have prediabetes, a condition in which blood glucose levels indicate a high risk for development of diabetes.
  • Children and adolescents who are obese are at greater risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems such as stigmatization and poor self-esteem.

Long-term health effects:

  • Children and adolescents who are obese are likely to be obese as adults and are therefore more at risk for adult health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.6  One study showed that children who became obese as early as age 2 were more likely to be obese as adults.
  • Overweight and obesity are associated with increased risk for many types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, pancreas, gall bladder, thyroid, ovary, cervix, and prostate, as well as multiple myeloma and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

See:  http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/obesity/facts.htm