Healthy eating affects development

Start the new school year off right with proper nutrition! Healthy eating is important to children's functioning at school.

Even moderate undernutrition can have lasting effects on a child's development, school performance, and relationships.

Poor nutrition puts children at risk for diseases like diabetes if they are seriously overweight and for chronic diseases later in life.

Healthy eating begins with breakfast. Research shows that skipping breakfast can affect children's intellectual performance.

Choose from different food groups to give your child a well-balanced, healthy start to the day. Be sure to discuss nutrition with your children and use the Food Pyramid to plan healthy meals together.

One very important ingredient for a healthy diet is calcium which children and teens need to help them build strong, healthy bones. By consuming enough calcium now, kids can lower their risk of developing osteoporosis and fragile bones later in life.

Good sources include low fat or nonfat milk, yogurt, and certain vegetables, such as spinach, broccoli, and kale.

Whether a student brings a lunch or buys it a school, it is important to make educated food choices. Parents, guardians, teachers and school administrators can all help improve children's nutrition by playing an active role in discussing healthy choices and by setting a good example.

When your child comes home from school hungry for a snack, offer low fat yogurt, fresh fruit, and pretzels as healthy alternatives to soda, chips and candy. Not only are sugary foods less nutritious, they also can be dangerous to their teeth.

Learning about the importance of proper nutrition at a young age will help to establish lifelong healthy eating habits and will improve the health of your child, both now and in adulthood. But nutrition alone will not ensure good health.

Combining a balanced diet with physical activity will help your child to live a long and healthy life. Start the new school year off right by teaching your children about the importance of proper nutrition and physical activity for a healthier future.

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