3 Important Macronutrients for Children

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Childhood obesity and malnutrition are a World Wide problem.

According to World Health Organization, “In 2020, globally, 149.2 million children under the age of 5 years of age were stunted, 45.4 million wasted, and 38.9 million overweight.”

To help combat childhood obesity and malnutrition, helping children have access to three macronutrients – carbohydrates, fats, and proteins – can make it easier for children to get the nutrients they require for optimal overall health and growth.

Complex Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are needed for energy, and there are two types of carbohydrates: complex and refined.

It is best to avoid refined carbohydrates (ex: French fries, sodas, and candy) as much as possible. Complex carbohydrates, brown rice, vegetables, oatmeal, potatoes, and beans are preferred.

Fats

Fats are needed to house vitamins (A, D, E & K), and healthy fats promote positive brain development and function. Making sure children eat the right fat is vital. The ideal fats are Monosaturated, Polysaturated, and Omega 3 fatty acids. Children can get these healthy fats from seafood (ex: fish, shrimp, etc.)

Protein

Protein is essential for building healthy muscle and ligaments. Protein can come from beans (and beans doubles as a complex carb and protein!) and meat (ex: chicken, pork, etc.).

Making sure children have the basic macronutrient needs can equip children for overall health!

Source(s):

Arsenault JE, Brown KH. Effects of protein or amino-acid supplementation on the physical growth of young children in low-income countries. Nutr Rev. 2017 Sep 1;75(9):699-717. doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nux027. PMID: 28938793; PMCID: PMC5914345.

Dalton A, Wolmarans P, Witthuhn RC, van Stuijvenberg ME, Swanevelder SA, Smuts CM. A randomised control trial in schoolchildren showed improvement in cognitive function after consuming a bread spread, containing fish flour from a marine source. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2009 Feb-Mar;80(2-3):143-9. doi: 10.1016/j.plefa.2008.12.006. Epub 2009 Feb 6. PMID: 19201180.

Departmental News. The UNICEF/WHO/WB joint child malnutrition estimates (JME) group released new data for 2021. World Health Organization. World Health Organization; 2021 [cited 2021Oct2]. Available from: https://www.who.int/news/item/06-05-2021-the-unicef-who-wb-joint-child-malnutrition-estimates-group-released-new-data-for-2021