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Healthy eating habits should begin at home

IT was interesting to read that parents are doing their best to change the dietary habits of their children (Irish Examiner, March 31). One of the main determinants of our health is “individual lifestyle factors” which involves eating healthily.

It’s crucial that this determinant of health is catered for in people’s lives in order for them to live disease free for a long proportion of their lives.

The diets people eat, in all their cultural variety, define to a large extent people’s health, growth and development. Studies have shown that there is considerable evidence that young children exposed to poor nutrition have poorer development than adequately nourished children both concurrently and in later children. Intrauterine growth retardation, failure to breast feed, early childhood stunting and wasting are just some of the conditions associated with poor nutrition at a young age.

Although many parents are improving the quality of food that their children are eating, there are still a large proportion of parents who take the option to fill their children’s bodies full of foods which contain large amounts of preservatives, colourings, saturated fats, sugars and all sots of chemicals which put their children at risk of developing cancer, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, work disability and sleep apnoea.

Why do some parents keep telling their children that they will bring them to fast food joints such as McDonalds if they behave?

Do these parents not know the risks associated with this type of eating? Parents should be rewarding their children with healthier treats. Despite numerous campaigns by health promotion workers about healthy eating there are still people out there who refuse to listen. It’s about time that these parents wake up and smell the coffee before obesity related-illnesses put an even bigger strain on our health service which is already struggling to provide proper and efficient health care to patients.

Hugh Duane

Foutainstown North


Co Cork


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