A nutritionist, Mr Oladimeji Okunola, has advised parents to reduce the consumption of manufactured and processed foods given to their children during the ongoing COVID-19 induced break.
Okunola, in an interview with our correspondent, said giving children more of manufactured and processed foods could make children to be overweight.
He advised parents to endeavour to give their children organic foods and allow them to engage in regular exercise.
“For children from high-income families, the challenge they may be experiencing during this break is overeating which may invariably lead to overnutrition. The effect of overnutrition can be now or future for the children.
“Increased frequency of eating junks like pastries, sugary drinks, fattening foods, high-calorie beverages and foods could result in children being overweight. Parents and guardians need to monitor and support their children’s nutrition at this period to ensure optimal nutrition.
“Another way to help children to reduce being overweight and obese is to keep them active; presently academic activities are at a low level, these activities take good levels of energy from children both mental and physical energy. They’ve got so much energy flowing in them, we can engage them in light house chores; we can also do light indoor workout to burn out calories,” Okunola said.
He added that being obese and overweight could reduce the body immunity of children, noting that obesity would put pressure on the bones which could result in pains and deformity of bones.
“Childhood obesity is most likely to cause non-communicable diseases like diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, heart disease and arthritis during adulthood. For the low and middle-income families, it will benefit the children at this period to understand how to combine meals to achieve optimal nutrition.
“It is common to this group of families to get food from street vendors and this may lack adequate nutrients. During this COVID- 19 pandemic period, we should do more of home cooking and boost the nutrients by adding organic vegetables and fruits to the foods.
“Most fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C and other minerals which will help to boost the immune system and thereby reducing chances of viral, bacterial infections and other diseases,” Okunola said.