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February 23, 2017 | Family Medicine
Diet and nutrition are key factors in the health and growth of a child. Children require lots of nutrients to help their bodies develop all the necessary functions and tissues they need, and the quality (or lack thereof) of these nutrients can have a big impact on health.
Everything from basic brain function to behavioral patterns can be influenced by the diet a child eats. Nutrition is also involved in the prevention of many childhood diseases, especially conditions like obesity and diabetes.
What should you encourage and avoid when it comes to your child’s diet? Do children of different ages require distinct levels of nutrition, and how does following a healthy diet help your child’s health? Here’s a look.
Foods to Encourage
Some of the foods that contain the best nutrients in high densities include:
Foods that contain fewer nutrients, or that might contain bad elements for your child’s health, include:
Based on age and gender, there are a few specific calorie guidelines you should follow. There are situations where your child’s pediatrician may recommend different guidelines, but average recommendations are:
There are precise guidelines about how these calories should be divided between the main food groups, but these may vary based on individual cases. Speak to your pediatrician about any questions you may have regarding your child’s diet.
There are several health and growth benefits that come with a proper, healthy diet. These include:
If you’re concerned about diet or nutrition issues with your child, speak to your doctor about your options. Most of these problems can be treated and improved through simple diet and lifestyle changes.
“Why Is a Healthy Diet Important for Child Development?” Livestrong. http://www.livestrong.com/article/355822-why-is-a-healthy-diet-important-for-child-development/
“Nutrition for kids: Guidelines for a healthy diet.” The Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/childrens-health/in-depth/nutrition-for-kids/art-20049335
“Energy In: Recommended Food & Drink Amounts for Children.” HealthyChildren.org. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/nutrition/Pages/Energy-In-Recommended-Food-Drink-Amounts-for-Children.aspx
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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.