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While vitamins and minerals are good for you – too much of a good thing can quickly turn in to a bad thing, particularly in children whose bodies are working hard to strengthen and grow.
Take milk for example. Milk is a low-cost and easy way to consume calcium. On top of this, most kids like drinking it. Parents are advised to let their children drink between around two glasses’ worth a day. Any more than that and iron levels in their body decrease rapidly. Low iron levels lead to anaemia which can lead to problems with brain development.
What happens in the body when there is an excess of calcium over a period of time? Well, calcium starts to inhibit iron absorption in the body. Drinking milk can fill a child’s stomach leading to decreased appetites. Less nutrients are being consumed and therefore the iron intake – along with other vitamins and minerals – is reduced.
Like the old adage says, everything in moderation. Nothing, no matter how healthy it is, is great in large doses. When preparing food for a child, it is important to make sure that everything is balanced, varied and ideally cooked from scratch.
Childhood is a critical time for growth and development – and the keystone of a healthy person is a good diet. Any deficiencies in the building blocks of a healthy body – vitamins, minerals, fats, iron, proteins and carbohydrates can lead to short term and long term health problems. These impacts on health can head to obesity, mental and emotional problems and can have a significant impact on their academic performance.
With a recent study* showing that just under 10% of children aged four to five are obese, while 13% are overweight, it is crucial that parents and caregivers, as well as nurseries and schools put a focus on children’s diets. A greater focus is needed on making sure that food strikes the right balance – giving just enough, but not too much.