Eating well is essential when you are growing up, but a healthy childhood goes beyond balanced eating. Diverting children from problems such as obesity – In 2016 the number of overweight children under the age of five, is estimated to be over 41 million. Almost half of all overweight children under 5 lived in Asia and one quarter lived in Africa. – is a multiple task, although fully possible when you know the right ways to achieve it.
Fostering playful situations, promoting moments of socialization and structuring creative proposals to combat sedentary lifestyle are effective solutions in promoting healthy development. Check out five habits that can be stimulated in children for health.
1. Physical activities
Coordination, agility and strength were the greatest gains that the practice of capoeira earned Gustavo Duarte, who was born with cerebral palsy and had his experience told on the Ministry of Health portal. Like this modality, many others can help in fostering a childhood which will yield good biological and psychological support until adulthood.
According to a recently published article, physical activity is able to protect children from injuries, help with weight control and motor development, and also increase the chances of a more active future. According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the recommended time for moderate or intense exercise for children and adolescents is approximately 60 minutes for at least 5 days a week.
2. Group play
The company of colleagues is a great incentive to take children out of a sedentary lifestyle. Among friends, the practice of sports and recreational activities is much more pleasurable and socialization is promoted, instead of fostering solid self-esteem and creating bonds, which promote physical and emotional well-being. Little ones can learn to live better in a group, deal with frustrations, and they also tend to have less risk of depression and anxiety.
3. Reduction in sugar consumption
That the child already has a certain preference for sweet taste, no one disagrees. The problem is that sugar is one of the great villains of health and can lead to serious problems in the body. Excessive consumption tends to increase weight gain during childhood and the development of diseases such as obesity. So, keep the little ones away from him, especially before the age of 2.
4. Less time on TV and screens
Research has shown that kids spend more time using electronic media devices than they do on any other activity—an average of 7 hours a day, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Spending too much time on screens has been linked to not getting enough sleep, poor grades, and a greater risk of obesity.
It is not by chance that the Brazilian Society of Pediatrics (SBP) advises that children up to 2 years of age should stay away from resources such as television, computers, cell phones and tablets. In an interview with Revista Saúde, the speech therapist and psychopedagogue at the University of São Paulo (USP) Telma Pantano reinforces that, although this care must be present in all phases, during the first two years of the individual, the brain must be subjected to real experiences that broaden the perception of the world around. These sensations need to be based on touches, books or toys.
5. Avoid ultra-processed foods: give preference to fresh ones
With an eye on the well-being of children, the Ministry of Health launched the Manual for Healthy School Canteens. And, of course, what could not be missing between the guidelines was an alert regarding ultra-processed foods, which, according to the study Ultra-processed foods and drinks in Latin America: trends, effect on obesity and implications for public policies, are among the main causes of chronic diseases in the world.
When assembling the children’s menu, the ideal is to avoid snacks, soft drinks and sausages and to appreciate fresh foods, which do not include sugar, fats, salt or oils.