Parents Encouraged to Put More Fruit in Children's Diet
BRADES – Nurse Educator Naomi Foster, on Thursday encouraged parents at the St. Augustine Primary School to provide healthier meals for their children.
Foster and her team are introducing a new Healthy Lifestyle Initiative for children aged eight to nine in all of the local schools. She explained that through the school health programme they see students at four and again around 11 years old before they enter secondary school. However, they felt their was a growing need to have an intervention for students in grades three and four.
The nurse said they were seeing an increase in obesity and children who have to be put on strict regiments to monitor their risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. She added that with care, the blood sugar levels of the children return to a healthier level.
Parents are invited to attend one of the food preparation demonstrations at the St. John’s Clinic and St. Peters on June 11th and 18th at 4:30PM.
Several recipes for preparing healthy snacks will be done. Foster provided a sheet of recipes which parents can make with their children to encourage them to eat more fruit and beneficial foods. The nurse said she was aware that many young mothers may be challenged with not knowing how to cook healthier meals with the fruits and vegetables available.
She also suggested that parents make use of mangoes and whatever fruits are in season year round. “We grew up on guavas and mangoes and now they are considered poor people food. However, they are still the best options for giving your child a healthy snack,” added Nurse Foster.
The health practitioner said data shows that boys are overweight in primary while girls become overweight by the time they reach third form at secondary school, due to inactivity. “We are seeing children with low haemoglobin which means they don’t have enough iron. We want you to encourage them to be more active and to eat better. They will follow your example,” she told the parents.
Nurse Foster said their is also a disparity in what children are told and what they see their teachers and parents do and so everyone needs to be consistent by also practicing healthy lifestyle habits such as drinking lots of water, cutting down on sweets, eating more fruits and vegetables and being more active.”