Nearly 5.9 million children die each year due to preventable and treatable causes, including 1 million babies who die on the day they are born. Malnutrition contributes to the deaths of children and a lifetime of poor health. More than 150 million children in developing countries are malnourished.
For a well-balanced child being healthy is very important. Good nutrition in children from a very early age helps them to stay well, make healthy choices and stay happy. It has a striking impact on child’s health throughout their adolescence and adulthood. Nutrition is the defined to be intake of food in relation to the body’s dietary needs. For a healthy lifestyle, not only well-balanced diet is needed, but physical activity is equally important too. Poor nutrition can lead to reduced immunity, increased sensitivity to diseases, impaired development; both mental and physical and a reduced productivity.
The keys to good nutrition are balance, variety and moderation. The three main components of nutrition are carbohydrates, fats and proteins hence, in order to stay healthy your body needs the right balance of all three.
The food we eat, provides us with the energy to function. The main form of energy for the body comes from carbohydrates. Sugar and starch the two forms of carbohydrates are the easy to digest. They are broken down into glucose, fructose or lactose. Too much carbohydrates in the body are stored as fat. On the other hand if there is a deficit the body will make it from proteins or fats thus moderation is the key. Moderation means eating neither too much nor too little of any food or nutrient.
The proteins in the food are broken down into amino acids which build and repair the body. The muscles contain protein and they need to be replenished. Proteins are also important for the immune system, nervous system, organs and the hormones.
Fats, known chemically as the molecules of triesters of glycerol (triglycerides) and fatty acids are one of the macro nutrients. A human body cannot survive without fats as it is important for digestion, transport, conversion and energy extraction. They are also needed to signal hormones.
Vitamins and mineral, the “little helpers”, we get from our diet are just as important as carbohydrates, protein and fats. However, you only need them in small amounts hence the micro nutrients. Vitamins and minerals usually function as co-enzymes, which means they help chemical reactions in the body happen a lot faster.
While some foods are better than others, no single food or food group has it all — so eating a variety of different foods is essential. By encouraging and teaching kids to eat healthy, one gives them the tools for a healthy lifestyle that will continue throughout their life. There are various ways healthy eating can be promoted in kids. Healthy options at home such as fruits, vegetables should be offered, junk food and take out should be limited, moreover, parents should be a role model to be followed.
The basics of good nutrients really aren’t that complicated, they just need to be emphasized and encouraged properly so that it becomes a vital part of children’s life, in turn helping them live a healthier and happier life.