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The 3-step plan to all-round growth in your child May 1, 2011

Posted by fredpereira in Uncategorized.
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Top issues parents worry about most: children’s diet, behaviour and activities. Here experts offer plenty of tips to put their minds at ease.

If you were to ask a parent the three most important child care issues he/she faces, it is very likely that high on the list would be the diet children should follow, the behavioural issues that crop up and how to tackle them and the kind of physical activities kids should be involved in. While all these three are crucial for a child’s all-round growth, most parents are not sure what is apt for children at different ages.

Guidelines for parents to follow for children in three age groups 3-6, 7-11 and 11-plus in the areas of diet, activity and all-round development.

Eating right

Getting a child to comply with specific dietary guidelines is never an easy task. Most dieticians suggest making the child feel involved in the process by asking them what changes they are comfortable making, and using statements to positively reinforce good eating habits will result in improved dietary compliance. The family unit must also be encouraged to support healthy eating habits.

“Obesity is an epidemic that warrants immediate intervention, especially because it is associated with other health conditions such as high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, sleep disorders (obstructive sleep apnoea), high cholesterol levels and sometimes bone deformities.” “Obesity-afflicted children are at increased risk of psychological disorders (depression and low self-esteem), which can lead to lowered academic performance.”

Around 40 per cent of children have been found to be obese. The US’ “5-2-1-0” campaign is an important one to follow. The four simple numbers translate as: five servings of fruit and vegetables, two hours or less of television, one hour of physical activity and zero sugary drinks.

Fussy or picky eating is normal toddler behaviour and may become even worse as the kids grow older. Parents should not place too much emphasis or attention on it, especially if this type of behaviour occurs on the odd occasion.

However, if changes from being a “once-in-a-while” to a “persistent” practice, then more action will need to be taken. In such cases, parents should closely monitor the child’s growth and consult a doctor, if necessary. At this stage, a multi-disciplinary approach involving a dietitian might also be helpful.

 

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