Archive for Kids’ Nutrition

“The main goal is to stabilize or slow down weight gain while ensuring normal growth and development. During the growth period, a child usually gains about 3kg per year. In the case of an overweight child, the objective is not to lose weight, but to let him/her grow tall while maintaining the same weight. In this way, the child will not lose weight, but will “thin out.” The first step is to determine the most probable causes
of excess weight in your child, and then to work on changing identified behaviours and habits. The whole family is involved.

Parents play a determining role in the behaviour of their children, as well as the environment in the home. They are models and serve as important examples for their children”

Practical Guide for the Parents of Overweight Children, The European Association

Categories : Kids' Nutrition
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Facts About….Childhood/Teenage Obesity

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The World Health Organisation defined obesity as a disease in which excess body fat has accumulated to an extent that health is adversely affected. Chronically overweight individuals face a number of serious health, social and psychological challenges with their quality of life being adversely affected. Obesity increases the risk of a person developing serious illnesses, including heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and strokes.

Obesity is a major public health challenge in Ireland and across Europe. Obesity rates for both children and adults are growing every year and according to a report of the National Taskforce of Obesity, “39% of adults are overweight and 18% are obese in Ireland”. The report also states that childhood obesity has become the most prevalent childhood disease in Europe. It is estimated that over 300,000 children in Ireland are overweight and obese and this is projected to increase annually by 10,000. A quarter of nine year olds are classed as overweight or obese. One in five children ages 5 to 12 is battling with his or her weight. The “Growing up in Ireland in 2009” study found one in four 9 year olds are overweight or obese.

The report notes the importance of balancing food intake with physical exercise. We know that foods high in fat, sugar and starch such as butter/margarine, cakes and biscuits and confectionary promote obesity. At the moment a fifth of Irish children’s energy intake comes from sweets, snacks and biscuits. It is now widely accepted that adults should be involved in 45-60 minutes and children should be involved in at least
60 minutes per day of moderate physical activity in order to prevent excess weight gain.

Elaine attended a recent conference on obesity held in Brussels, Belgium in April 2012 on Tackling Childhood Obesity in Europe: Comparative Perspectives on Prevention and Policy Implementation. According to the European Commission, some 22 million children in the EU are considered overweight or obese, with the numbers growing by 400,000 per year. A report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development
(OECD) showed that 13.3% of EU children aged 11-15 are overweight or obese, with numbers rising for boys in all countries.

The EU has a pivotal role to play in dealing with these challenges through its food safety, public health, education and research policies.

In Ireland, it was recently announced at the annual Irish Medical Organisation meeting that a school screening programme would allow for early intervention and regular monitoring to prevent the complications of obesity. If children have serious weight problems they may be referred to their GP and/or a Specialist. It has been proposed that screening would take place and children would be weighed when they start primary school in a bid to tackle Ireland’s growing obesity problem. This initiative is being proposed at present and we look forward to more work being done in this area.

For further information, see the following useful websites.

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Tips for Parents – Kids & Exercise

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3 out of 10 Irish children are not getting the recommended 60 minutes of exercise each day!


Elaine’s tip to get the kids moving? “Make it fun and challenging.”

Kids don’t mind exercising as long as it’s fun so choose something they enjoy. Also, consider alternatives to the traditional swimming, cycling or running at times (such as the weekend, when parents may have more time) – try frisbee, trampolining, skate-boarding or dancing – anything that gets their heart rates up and challenges them to try something new.

Categories : Kids' Nutrition
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Tips for Parents – Veg & Kids!

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“Offer Children Raw Vegetables,” says Elaine

23_iStock_000006076620_Medium_BoyJumping2Many parents boil vegetables until almost all the goodness has leached out of them! They are also unaware of the fact that their children actually do like vegetables, perhaps just not the cooked version!

Try to offer cauliflower, carrots and courgettes that are raw (with a dip like humous or guacamole) or only very lightly cooked on their own – you may be surprised that your children enjoy them more!

I’m also a firm believer that you should not offer children too much choice – serve them the same meal as you are eating and don’t offer an alternative – if they are hungry enough they will eat up!

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About Elaine

Elaine graduated from Trinity College with a B.Sc., (Hons) in Human Nutrition and Dietetics. She gained wide experience working as clinical nutritionist in several hospitals prior to establishing her first private dietetic clinic in 1992.

Private Practice Experience
Elaine has gained vast experience specialising in providing private individual dietetic consultations for her clients in her clinics for the past 17 years. In recent years, her main areas of interest are weight management, obesity, diabetes, heart disease and nutrition and gastro-enterology.

Elaine is an active member of the INDI and was chairperson of the Irish Nutrition and Dietetic weight management interest group from 2005 to 2007.

Dietetic and Nutrition Consultancy
Elaine has provided dietetic consultancy to a wide range of industries including private hospitals, hotels and catering companies. She has designed, piloted, implemented and coordinated workplace wellbeing programmes for several prominent companies and large international corporations.