Nutrition for Children & Adolescents
Obesity is fast turning into an "epidemic" disease, not only in adults, but in our children too. It is estimated that up to 15 % of all children in the UK are overweight or obese (Bupa). Whilst up to 34% of all children in the USA are overweight or obese (NPD Group).
"Over the last fifty years, there has been a change in the predominant concerns about the diets and health of school aged children. Historically, the focus has been on the provision of sufficient nutrients and energy in relation to current and future needs, but providing dietary balance and encouraging less sedentary lifestyles are now viewed as the main priorities". British Nutrition Foundation
With the exception of very young children (4 - 6 years old), between 40-69% of children in Britain are largely inactive, spending less than one hour a day participating in activities of moderate intensity. These findings are also consistent with a number of other recent reports concerning the increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity in children. This is a situation that is mirrored in adults and is likely to stem from the same fundamental causes.
Like many adults, British children are typically eating less than half the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. One in five (4 -18 year olds) eat no fruit at all during an average week. Poor eating and poor physical activity habits in childhood may increase the risk of health problems in later in life. The diet of a child is a factor, to varying degrees, in the development of a number of diseases, either in childhood itself or during adult life, such as obesity, iron deficiency anaemia, dental caries, coronary heart disease, hypertension, osteoporosis and cancer.
There is some evidence to suggest that health traits present in childhood tend to track into adult life, including body weight, blood levels of cholesterol, other blood lipids and insulin, and blood pressure.
Improving the health and nutrition of children should remain a priority for the government, health professionals, the food industry and teachers alike. But more importantly, parents should also have an active role in providing the best nutritional quality to their children. The course aims to show parents and practitioners how to improve the health and nutrition of children.