Nutrition deficits increasing among Canadian kids

February 25, 2004 in Nutrition for Children and Teenagers, Nutrition Topics in the News

Nutrition deficits increasing among Canadian kids

With children developing dietary lifestyle diseases at younger ages, the importance of parents establishing and reinforcing good nutrition habits, both at home and at school, is evident.

Today's fast paced lifestyle has resulted in millions of overweight Canadians. Unfortunately, this is becoming more and more prevalent in children, who tend to be less active and more prone to eating junk food. The result, says the Vitamin Information Service (which is sponsored by Roche Vitamines Europe Ltd.), is heavier kids who are facing a number of nutrition deficiencies.

A Manitoba study found that one in three students ate low nutrient-dense lunches, and only five percent of students ate a lunch that contained all 4 food groups. Rickets was rarely seen in Canada 30 years ago. Today, this preventable bone-softening disease, which is caused by a deficiency of calcium and/or vitamin D, seems to be on the increase across the country.

A balanced diet is never more important than during childhood. Healthy eating habits learnt during childhood can also influence adult food choices. Children who regularly eat fruit and vegetables will probably do so throughout their lives. Similarly, if children develop a taste for fatty, sugary foods during childhood, the pattern is likely to continue. Food for thought as Nutrition Month, in March, approaches.

What can parents do to ensure that their children receive the critical nutrients they need? The Vitamin Information Service suggests four steps to follow:

  • Multivitamins, specially formulated for children, are an easy way to ensure your kids secure a healthy intake of nutrients. Including a daily multivitamin in your child's routine could avoid nutrition deficiency diseases and maintain long-term good health.
  • Encourage your kids to try a wide variety of food. Allow them to take an active role in choosing their food and preparing meals. Point out healthy options and why you prefer to choose them.
  • Attractive or fun meals may inspire your children to eat healthier options. Cut vegetables into fun shapes and include fruits in lunch boxes that are easy to eat, such as grapes and strawberries.
  • Cut down the amount of fatty, sugary snacks your children eat. Consider planning meals ahead of time to ease the temptation to snack. Alternatively, urge your kids to eat fruit in-between meals.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.