On 23rd June 2016 I was asked to speak to a room full of Health Visitors about maternal, infant and child nutrition and child obesity. This was for the Journal of Health Visiting and I was so honoured to be asked to attend and run the Health Visitor Nutrition Training. A lot of my work involves training, supporting and advising Health Visitors and I think it’s such an important area and field of nutrition to cover.
The important role of Health Visitors
Health Visitors have so much information to impart and are responsible for advising parents about such a vast topic area – babies! Nutrition is part of the parcel for them, but we know that nutrition is also a huge part of the parcel for a child’s long term health too.
Early Years Nutrition impacts on not only an individual child’s health, growth, IQ and future job status, but it also affects families, communities and the UK as a whole. Research shows us that good nutrition in the first 1000 days of life can increase a countries GDP. This is why it’s so important that we help parents get nutrition right from the start.
The first 1000 days of life
This infographic from www.thousanddays.org is fantastic and shows just how much Nutrition matters.
Charlotte’s Health Visitor Nutrition Training Messages:
So here is a quick summary and a few of the top tips from my Health Visitor nutrition training presentation to help us spread the word about the importance of child nutrition and help support parents to make the best choices for their children.
- Childhood obesity is a big problem – recognising it and dealing with it in early years is far easier than dealing with it at a later date. The longer a child is overweight, the more established and extreme that excess weight is likely to become.
- Obese children are 5-15x more likely to be obese as adults.
- Eating behaviours are established in the early years and continue on into older aged children and adult hood – setting good examples and behaviours early on really does matter.
- Children are born with a preference for sweet foods. We need to help them to learn to like other foods and flavours (such as bitter, sour, umami) during introducing solid foods. Focus on vegetables first and leave the unnaturally sweet foods until later (see my blog the real problem with our food!)
- Be positive role models – let your children see you eating well and enjoying foods to help encourage your children to enjoy the same.
- Don’t forget that vitamin drops are recommended for all children from 6 months until 5 years as a safe guard and to make sure they are getting their vitamin D!
If you’re interested in hiring me to speak about Nutrition, check out more in my nutrition speaker section.