Public health issues: nutrition/malnutrition

    • Proper nutrition is important to the growth and development of the child.  It’s sad but true that some parents  feed their children on their schedule so when they, the adult, gets hungry.  This topic became an important one for me recently as I just completed parent meetings on proper nutrition and we had an incident with a family in need.  The children would come into the center right at lunch time and the youngest child would eat several helpings of whatever we served with no hesitation, he is 3.  The middle child came and would not talk to anyone, he would spend most of his time running around being disruptive until lunch was served.  As soon as the food was put out he would sit down and eat until there was no more, he is 5.  The oldest, who is 7, was the exact opposite and was very controlled in the portions that he ate.  It wasn’t the healthy appetite that concerned us, the problem came when the children showed up after lunch one day and the middle child kept running from the classroom into the kitchen trying to steal food.  Every time he noticed no one watching he’d try to sneak into the kitchen, he even went through the cabinets in the classroom and went so far as to hit a teacher.  Finally, we talked to the older brother and got to the heart of the situation.  It was very sad as there was a lot going on in the family but it was obvious that someone needed to step in and get not only the children but the mother some help.  It took a little time but they are doing well and things at home seem to be going much better.  After this experience I felt that I needed to do something more in my center so we began hosting a series of parental information meetings and we discussed nutrition with the parents and implemented more classroom nutrition activities. 
    • After browsing several resources on nutrition in the UK it was interesting to find that there was some similarities in nutrition/malnutrition as in the US.  The children in the UK suffer from malnutrition due to lack of proper education on nutrition, income level and access.  Recently the USDA launched the My Plate campaign and a similar one runs in the UK called the eatwell plate.  There are a few differences in the plates.  In the US, the plates is based on the number of servings required each day but in the UK the plates is divided into percentages.
    • the future--We have already started implementing nutrition activities provided by the USDA as well as working with the parents.  Our program es the Federal Food Program so our center is following the nutritional guidelines.  As for my future work, I think it's important to not only educate children and their families about nutrition but also to get up and get moving.
Nutrition Resources: