Let’s Talk about Children’s health

Written by Josephine Daly - Sr. Product Manager for Australia & New Zealand

To every parent, their children are their world and their children’s health and well-being is what they constantly work to achieve. With all the food and nutrition options available today, choosing what is best for your child is not as simple as it sounds.

Sugar filled break-fast cereals and fruit juices, lunch box snacks that are so high in sodium, and with most of the options you would find on the supermarket isles contain artificial colours, flavours and loaded with preservatives - making healthy choices are more complex than ever! To crown it all, healthy food options always seem to be more expensive than junk food – and this makes the shift to a healthier diet far more strenuous for many parents.

Nevertheless, it is daunting when as a parent you hear that alarming statistics that suggest that childhood obesity in Australia is among the highest of all developed nations, with every 1 in 4 Australian children and adolescents being overweight or obese. Only Little over half of 5 – 7 year olds and one in three 8-11 year olds eat the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables daily, and more than half do not meet the Australian physical activity guidelines.

If you have a teenager, it is good to be aware that 1 in 4 teens is affected by obesity, with only 5% of 12-18 year olds and 6% of 19+ year olds consuming the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables daily. It is not helpful that every 1 in 1 kids eat fast /junk food 2 – 4 times a week, and only 14 % participated in the minimum recommended levels of physical activity.

Does this mean that you can never give your child a treat ever again? Definitely not. However, it means you will have to take care to ensure your child has good nutritional intake through wholesome and nutritious meals, adequate daily exercise, and good quality nutritional supplementation to fill those gaps that could exist in their diet. It means being instrumental in your child building a good attitude and approach with food that will last a lifetime!

So what do the health authorities advise?

AU Govt. Department of Health & Ageing makes a stand on the importance of a good start, and early preventative initiatives for better health outcomes in children, even into adulthood, while New Zealand’s Ministry of Health emphasises that children’s health is important not only for children and families now, but also for good health later in adulthood.

Both authorities suggest that good nutrition, healthy eating and regular exercise commenced early in life are important in preventing diet-related conditions such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, some cancers some mental health conditions including depression, etc. Regular physical activity and healthy food can make a difference in preventing these diseases.

At USANA, we recognise the importance of adequate and optimal nutrition for children, just as much as optimal nutrition is important to adults.

Dr. Christine Wood, a member of the USANA Scientific Advisory Council, says 'The best way parents can help their kids establish healthy habits, is to be a role model of healthy living. Parents who start their children with healthy habits early, those children have an easier time staying with those choices.'

And Dr. Tina Matthews, a Bronze Director from Toronto, Ontario, says 'The importance of healthy habits for children is a more pressing issue today than it was when the parents of today’s children were children.' Dr. Matthews recommends making a start by changing one thing in each of what she calls the four pillars of health: diet, exercise, nutritional supplements, and mental/spiritual health.

At USANA, we’re doing our part to support Children’s Health. USANA has created nutritional products especially for children and young adults, giving our youth the best chance they have at receiving the nutrition they need to be at their best, every day. That’s not all. USANA is also a proud sponsor of HealthCorps, founded by Dr. Oz., an amazing organisation that provides health education to children, giving them the training they need to make smart, informed decisions about the foods they eat; we’re also the title sponsors of The Healthy Youth Program at the Linus Pauling Institute; and we have long donated to the Children’s Hunger Fund.

Therefore, to place further emphasis on the USANA nutritional products specifically formulated for growing bodies, we have now created the New! Children’s Health category on www.usana.com shopping cart to help you locate these products easily.

For the youngsters in your life aged 2 to 12 years, we recommend UsanimalsTM and BiOmegaTM Jr. (from 4 years), and for those aged 13 to 18 years, we recommend Body RoxTM and Active CalciumTM Chewable.

You can find out more information on the products in this new category by visiting www.usana.com

Let’s educate our youngsters on good nutrition and give them a healthier future to look forward to!