Healthy Kids, Food, and Family, Especially During the Holidays
No matter the species, fit and growing youngsters are hungry a lot of the time. According to the Centers for Disease Control and National Center for Health Statistics, the average healthy male infant is expected to double his weight by three months of age. If he follows typical growth charts, then by 15 months, he will have doubled his weight again. In addition to that, his weight is expected to double between the ages of 3 and 9 years and continue to increase by about 5 lbs per year until age 20. [1,2]
Weight is not all that children gain in the years between infancy and adulthood. They develop teeth, bones, brain, internal organs, and immune system intelligence. They acquire language, social skills, and psychological and emotional resilience. They also gain control of bodily functions and physical movements, and more. The quality of the food they eat affects all these facets of human development.
The exponential growth that children experience in their first 20 years explains the need for high-quality, nutrient-dense foods most, if not all, of the time. This fact is important to remember because we are what we eat, especially when learning and developing as quickly as children do. Food choices and eating patterns are very sensitive aspects of a person's life. Food is wrapped up in family, culture, country, patriotism, socioeconomic status, political ideologies, religion, morals, and ethics. It is also woven into local commerce, national economies, and world politics. In the Global North, the predominant eating pattern is animal-centric and full of processed foods. These dietary patterns are held in place by ongoing education, national customs, and commercial advertising. [Read more…]