Posted on: 13 April 2015
The younger children learn, the more likely they are to apply the lesson. That's the thinking behind a lot of what we teach preschoolers, and it definitely applies to health and nutrition.
About 17 percent of children under age 18 in the U.S. are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control, and that number has been holding steady for about a decade. For the first time, obesity rates are declining in preschoolers -- kids between the ages of 2 and 5 -- especially those who are of low income and attend a preschool program.
Importance of Teaching Good Eating Habits Early
Many early childhood educators have the ability to influence young children and show them how to make good food choices. Resources available through government programs provide options for teaching age-appropriate lessons about the Food Pyramid and show activities for a wide range of ages to learn more about food. Government-funded preschools, such as Head Start, incorporate these nutrition lessons into the curriculum to encourage healthy eating.
Increasing Fruit and Vegetable Intake
For 25 years, the nutritional data has been primarily the same. As many as 40 percent of kids have eaten no vegetables on the day they were surveyed, and only one in five kids gets the five servings of fruits and vegetables recommended each day. For many of these children, french fries are the only vegetable they get on a regular basis.
Preschool programs that introduce fruits and vegetables can help children get familiar with produce that may not be served at home and can provide a different environment for kids to interact with new foods. These foods can be provided through government programs or they can be a part of the snacks and lunches that a private preschool provides.
Overcoming Food Advertising
Preschool-age kids are starting to pick up on messages in advertising. They see the fast food toys in the television commercials and the sugary breakfast cereals promoted by a cartoon character. Counteracting these messages with education about the taste of healthy food can be beneficial when done early, before an excess of commercials teach the wrong lessons about eating. Learning about advertising messages and how to be a smart consumer can start at a young age and continue into elementary school.
When these nutrition lessons are incorporated into preschool learning, they can help young children increase healthy food choices and reduce obesity. Combined with information about staying active and using their bodies, nutrition help can start preschoolers on the path to eating better and staying fit.
Preschools such as Wooden Shoe Pre-School & Pre-Kindergarten are more than just places to play. They allow your children to learn a variety of topics, from nutrition to social skills.Share