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Needed: Strong nutritional foundation in childhood

Needed: Strong nutritional foundation in childhood
Highlights

In order to address the increasing need of holistic development amongst children, health experts of the city came together to deliberate upon the subject at the Press Club of Hyderabad on Monday.

Khairatabad: In order to address the increasing need of holistic development amongst children, health experts of the city came together to deliberate upon the subject at the Press Club of Hyderabad on Monday.

Children need a variety of foods from five food groups: dairy, protein, fruits, vegetables and grains. The experts discussed the importance of setting a strong nutritional foundation in early childhood and its lifelong impact on an individual's life.

Holistic development, as a concept, not only encompasses the physical health rather it recognises the need of comprehensive outlook to health and development.

Growth during the age of 2-5 years is rapid where children learn different skills such as walking, talking, and fine motor skills, to name a few. For a child to make the best of his growing years, it is important for parents to ensure that kids consume a well-balanced diet where the intake of added sugar along with nutrition is monitored.

Milk being the mainstay of nutrition for children at this age, it is important to be aware of the amount of added sugars being fed to them, along with milk. In both adults and children, WHO recommends reducing the intake of free sugars to less than 10% of total energy intake.

Elaborating on the subject, Dr Jyothi Chabaria, Nutritionist at Nutriline Clinic, Hyderabad, said, "The body requirements of children vary according to different age groups.

Children should be provided with a healthy balance of fruits, vegetables and other nutritious food, so that healthy eating pattern and good food habits are inculcated at an early age. It is also important for parents to carefully control and monitor the amount of added sugar that their children are consuming."

Dr Srikrishna, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Apollo Medical College, Hyderabad, observed, "Two to five years are one of the most formative years for a child's development.

Since parents play an important role in influencing a child's food choices at that age, it is important for parents to be equipped with the right information. Parents need to be sensitised about the consumption of nutritious food, intake of liquids for children to stay hydrated and sensitive nutrients, all this will contribute in the holistic development of child."

To ensure that children have access to balanced meal with right nutrients it is important to include foods from various food groups. By serving a variety of healthy food, children eventually get adequate nutrition over the course of the week, the speakers stressed.

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