Nutrition is an essential part of early life, and it is important to understand the benefits of nutrition education for the development of the mind, body, and spirit. Poor diets in early childhood can lead to deficiencies in essential vitamins and nutrients, such as vitamin A deficiency, which can weaken a child's immunity and increase the risk of blindness and death from common childhood diseases. Eating healthy can also help children be happier, as nutrition has a direct effect on how they feel. Research shows that brain networks related to eating control are closely related to emotions, and serotonin (which helps regulate sleep, appetite, and moods) is produced primarily in the gut.
Additionally, essential fats found in fish, avocados, and nuts help the body absorb other vitamins. Nutrition is essential for survival, and studies show that a nutritious diet will make children healthier and better able to learn. Malnutrition has been shown to decrease a child's activity levels, social interactions, curiosity, and cognitive functioning. The CACFP program helps child care institutions distribute nutritious meals and snacks to more than 3.3 million babies and children each year.
Following nutrition guidelines during pregnancy and early in a child's life is relatively simple. Adequate nutrition is important when caring for children as it protects against malnutrition, maintains a healthy immune system, prevents obesity, and reduces the risk of chronic diseases. Breastfeeding mothers who follow nutritious diets make cases of diseases such as diarrhea, ear infections, and bacterial meningitis less serious among their children. Malnutrition during pregnancy can slow fetal growth and cause poor brain development, leading to irreversible chronic diseases.
It can be difficult to convince children to eat healthy foods, but it is important to remember the health benefits of good nutrition. Eating a balanced and nutritious diet directly affects all aspects of a child's growth and development. Parents should find ways to encourage their children to eat healthy foods so that they can reap the benefits of good nutrition.