Let’s not sugar-coat it – the world is bang in the middle of an obesity epidemic. Everyone we turn, people are overweight. As the kilos go up, so does the risk of a collection of health conditions including heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure.
Even more worryingly, recent reports have suggested that more and more children are being classified as obese. A study conducted by Cininnatti Children’s Hospital Medical Centre on almost 400 children found that one out of every four children had a body mass index which placed them in the overweight category, while less than 1% of the sample met the daily activity recommendation.
Commenting on the study, its author, Dr Amrik Singh Khalsa said “preschool children who are overweight or obese have a four-fold odds of being overweight or obese as adults. Preventing obesity is critical to averting obesity-associated diseases, such as metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular abnormalities.”
Guidelines for a Healthy Lifestyle
The Australian Dietary Guidelines are a great way for parents and caregivers to start understanding the nutritional needs of young children. They recommend that to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, children should pair a balanced, varied diet with physical activities. A balanced diet should include a wide range of foods including vegetables (of different colours and types), fruits, whole grains, milk, yogurt and cheese and limit foods with saturated fat, high amounts of sodium and added sugars.
Aurora’s Focus on Healthy Living
At Aurora Early Education, we always have our healthy hat on. Our Healthy Eating Policy recognises that food provided to our children has an important role to play in their growth, development and wellbeing. We pay careful attention to our menu, our mealtime practices (including food safety) as well as how we educate our learners about food.
To create our menu, we work with the Local Council and Healthy Together Victoria. Each day, we serve breakfast, morning tea, a two course lunch, afternoon tea and a late snack, tailoring the times and menus to meet each child’s individual needs.
As well as following healthy eating guidelines, we ensure that food is both culturally and developmentally appropriate; for younger children for instance, we may mash or puree food until they progress to eating solids.
Through the day, our learners are actively encouraged to drink water and – should they feel peckish between meals – there are snack boxes in each room with healthy, nourishing snacks.
At Aurora, we extend our holistic approach to healthy practices; a balanced, carefully planned diet is paired with plenty of physical activities to ensure our learners remain healthy and happy!