Teaching kids to live healthier, longer

Published November 23, 2021, 11:00 AM

by Dr. Kaycee Reyes

The importance of nutrition

THE VALUE OF FOOD Eating together is beneficial in various ways, including improved communication among family members

If asked what your favorite food was as a child, would you say vegetables or fruits? Probably not. More often than not, kids don’t really mind the kind of food they eat, nor do they care about nutrition. Vegetables? Forget them, they taste awful. Fruits? Nah, candies are better. But the truth is, their eating habits could continue until adulthood if there is no proper guidance on nutrition. Without it, these kids will grow older and be at a higher risk for serious illnesses and worse, even live shorter than their parents.

If you still think the lack of guidance on nutrition is not a cause for concern, think otherwise. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that obesity is a global problem such that the rate has tripled since 1975. And while it is not included in the top diseases that cause mortality, it is related. In fact, the top noncommunicable diseases that cause mortality as reported by WHO are cardiovascular disease, cancers, respiratory disease, and diabetes—diseases that could have been prevented with proper nutrition and a healthy lifestyle.

This is why nutrition education is important. Did you know that a lot of food companies target their advertisements to kids and teens? Junk and processed treats are marketed to them because they are also influenced by what they always see. In addition, the age of social media has posed a greater challenge for parents, guardians, and educators because of heightened misinformation and less controls on advertising. Not only could it affect children on what they eat, but without proper guidance, excessive social media could also introduce issues on body image and eating disorders.

Here are a few guidelines on educating the children on proper eating.

• Always keep an eye on what our kids consume. Introduce food and snacks that are both healthy and delicious. Remind them that good food can taste good too. Prepare healthy lunches as much as you can for them to bring to school.

• Teach them the importance of choosing the right kind of food. Always remind them why it matters in the long run.

• Keep your pantry healthy too. Avoid junk food triggers by stocking up on healthier options such as fruits, nuts, and yogurt.

• Eat together and on time. This promotes better communication between child and adult. It also encourages better eating habits when you all eat together, eat right, and eat on schedule.  

Did you know that a lot of food companies target their advertisements to kids and teens? Junk and processed treats are marketed to them because they are also influenced by what they always see.

It’s true, healthy habits begin at home. That is why teaching children about proper nutrition is that important. It is in creating these small healthy habits that will make a huge impact on the rest of their lives. But at the same time, may we—parents, guardians, and educators—be an example for them.

Healthy changes in diet and lifestyle should always begin with us. As they say, children do what their parents do. So let us become the best example for them. In turn, they will be an example for the generations to come.