KUALA LUMPUR: It is the responsibility of parents to watch what their children eat and ensure that their diets are balanced, according to a dietician.
Children’s immunity levels would be affected if their diets were unbalanced, said Mohd Khairul Azuan, who is attached to a medical centre in the Klang Valley. For their children to chart healthy physical and mental growth, families should strive to make healthy eating habits a tradition in their households, he added.
He said it was important to ensure that children’s diets consisted of food containing a complete range of nutrients to enable them to remain healthy, active and energetic.
The intake of inadequate amounts of, or nutrient-deficient, food could cause childrent to be listless, feel drowsy and unable to concentrate properly in the classroom, said Mohd Khairul.
“Children are usually drawn towards chocolates, sweets, ice-cream and cakes and tend to shun fruits and vegetables, but the problem is eating too much of sugary foods can lead to obesity,” he told Bernama.
A survey carried out by the Nutrition Society of Malaysia revealed that 28.4 per cent of children and teenagers aged between six and 17 were found to be either overweight or obese. The survey, which was initiated in 2013, involved 8,705 schoolchildren throughout the country.
Admitting that it was hard to coax children to eat fruits and vegetables, Mohd Khairul said their physique and state of health often reflected the quality of their food intake.
He urged parents to be more creative when preparing healthy food for their children, adding that they would be more inclined to eat if they were served unique meals.
“Usually, they are attracted to colourful foodstuffs and they love variety too,” said Mohd Khairul, adding that he usually recommended that children be served bento-style meals.
“The foods are presented and decorated to look like toys, and they look so inviting they’re bound to whet the appetites of the kids.”
Pointing out that it was not necessary to eat only organic foodstuffs, he said a balanced diet consisting of the right quantities of carbohydrates, protein, fats and fibre was sufficient.