The latest statement from the study on developing good dietary habits in children says that what parents should feed kids is equally important that what they are putting in front of them. The new guidelines on feeding children are published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, as “Caregiver Influences on Eating Behaviors in Young Children.”
The American Heart Association tries to shift the focus on explaining the proven dietary strategies that could help parents to help their kids develop good dietary habits. This effort is a part of maintaining a healthy weight in later years of life with reduced risk of certain medical conditions especially obesity and cardiovascular diseases.
Although most of the children have this natural ability to know when they are hungry and when are they satisfied with eating. So their bodies work on an auto-run setup. But the new guidelines tell that developing healthy dietary habits have some emotional factor as well such as parents trying to convince their child on what to eat and finish his plate during a family meal. The medical experts believe that such emotional connections help children to develop g healthy eating behaviors eventually. Hence they just know how to grow with eating the right types of food.
The group leader for this new guideline and assistant professor at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the department of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Alexis C. Wood, says that parents should reconsider how to create an environment that implies healthy dietary habits. It is necessary for the parents to let the kid opt for healthy food types and eating patterns without being forced by the elders. Only this way he could learn a life long good lesson.
Wood also said that sometimes what children like to eat has direct links with people around them. So if parents expect their children to make better food choices, the family as a whole should shift to better and healthy eating behaviors.
The guidelines also suggest all parents and caretakers play a positive role in creating a healthy growing environment for the children. If they support healthy eating instead of being rigid about dietary habits and focusing on controlling the lives of their children, it is not a wise idea. Instead of adapting to this new dietary pattern, the children would more likely to escape from it hence the health risks still remain there.
The parents can help by doing the following things.
- fix the daily meal times
- allowing them to pick what they would like to have from a list of healthy foods
- serving new healthy foods in addition to the dishes that they like
- being attentive to the signs that their child expresses or implies to show hunger or fullness
- avoid putting pressure on children to eat more even if they don’t want to eat anymore
Itis is necessary to realize that probably not every eating strategy is effective for every child. Parents and guardians should not blame or add stress to a child for his eating behaviors. Not all children are the same when it comes to diet and eating habits and it is the right time to accept it.
Guardians can play a strong role while helping their kids to adopt healthy eating behaviors of their children. Still, their part has its own limitations as there are multiple factors involved.
The authors are encouraging diet related policies that discuss hurdles in implementing the recommendations of the statement within the societal context that include health determinants like food insecurity, economic standing, education, awareness, availability of food, and others.