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Addressing a Healthy Diet at Home

Introduction

Teaching children a healthy lifestyle begins in the family, and if parents and other close relatives neglect certain behavioral norms, a child adopts these patterns and imitates them. One of the significant aspects of upbringing is addressing a healthy diet as an activity that not only stimulates children’s normal physical development but also allows forming the right eating habits. In her topic on physical growth, Berk (2008) notes that the concept of proper nutrition should be promoted by parents in early childhood because, at this time, a child goes through the adaptation period and forms the basic taste preferences. This letter is addressed to parents and contains information about what interventions are necessary to instill proper eating habits in children and maintain a healthy diet at home.

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Main body

Since the key responsibility for children’s life and health lies with adults, parents are key caregivers. According to Davis et al. (2016), within the family, one of the basic educational concepts is support. This means that for a child to have an idea of ​​what a healthy diet should include, parents, need to instill specific eating patterns on an individual example. In case dietary intake principles are ignored, this is fraught with subsequent health problems in children. Davis et al. (2016) argue that youth obesity is a significant problem in the United States and note that about 32% of children are overweight (p. 228). At the same time, hereditary and other factors make up the smallest percentage of the causes of this issue since the key background of the problem is the wrong diet. In this regard, to help a child develop normally, parents should create an environment to stimulate healthy nutrition, and the optimal mechanism for implementing this task is to promote nutrition habits by themselves. Children do not learn to eat properly on their own, and parental support is crucial.

To be aware of the importance of a healthy diet, parents should pay attention to the concept of food insecurity. Knowles et al. (2016) analyze this term as a phenomenon that occurs in marginalized low-income families when adults are forced to compromise. This outcome, in turn, affects both the physical and moral health of a child negatively since stresses that adults experience are perceived by children as natural behavioral forms (Knowles et al., 2016). As a result, one can state that there is a direct correlation between healthy eating and income levels. Knowles et al. (2016) argue that, in the United States, the share of household food insecurity is about 20% (p. 26). These statistics are alarming and allow concluding that parents’ favorable financial background helps introduce healthy eating habits to their children. Thus, as a recommendation to parents, employment and maintaining a positive social status may be noted as crucial conditions for promoting a healthy diet in families.

Another valuable strategy that can help parents address a healthy diet is to eat together. When all family members gather for dinner, this contributes to not only rallying adults and children but also streamlining the meal regimen. Berk (2008) states that such a measure is one of the ways to prevent childhood obesity and subsequent eating disorders in adolescents. At the same time, the regimen of meals should be regular so that s child could understand the importance of a balanced and healthy diet.

One of the crucial concepts related to a healthy diet and its implication for the development of children is epigenesis. According to Berk (2008), this process is a continuous development of the functions of a child’s body through hereditary factors and environmental influences. As an example, one can cite a situation in which parents teach a child to eat properly. As Berk (2008) remarks, those food products that nutritionists prescribe for young children stimulate brain growth and, therefore, activate neural connections. This means that, through the consumption of healthy and proper food, a child develops not only physical but also cognitive functions due to interaction with the environment, in particular, through nutrition. This principle of epigenesis may be applied to other processes that also influence the development of a child’s body, but a healthy diet is one of the simplest and most frequent forms of increasing children’s mental and physical abilities. Therefore, maintaining a proper diet by parents plays a much more important role than many adults believe.

Conclusion

Finally, the concept of heredity is essential in teaching children eating habits. According to Berk (2008), if a child has a predisposition to diseases associated with malnutrition, such as diabetes, this is an additional driver for parents to plan a diet. In this case, adults should not only control the food that their children consume but also visit attending physicians periodically to monitor health indicators. The proposed measures are not complicated, but their implementation, in particular, changing a diet, can allow a child to develop both physically and mentally healthy and acquire important eating habits timely.

References

Berk, L. (2008). Child development (8th ed.). Pearson.

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Davis, A. M., Stough, C. O., Black, W. R., Dean, K., Sampilo, M., Simpson, S., & Landrum, Y. (2016). Outcomes of a weight management program conjointly addressing parent and child health. Children’s Health Care, 45(2), 227-240. Web.

Gregory, A., Clawson, K., Davis, A., & Gerewitz, J. (2016). The promise of restorative practices to transform teacher-student relationships and achieve equity in school discipline. Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation, 26(4), 325-353. Web.

Gregory, A., & Fergus, E. (2017). Social and emotional learning and equity in school discipline. The Future of Children, 27(1), 117-136.

Knowles, M., Rabinowich, J., De Cuba, S. E., Cutts, D. B., & Chilton, M. (2016). “Do you wanna breathe or eat?”: Parent perspectives on child health consequences of food insecurity, trade-offs, and toxic stress. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 20(1), 25-32. Web.

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