BC Medical Association

BC Medical Association

March 22, 2005 14:23 ET

Regular, Balanced Meals Help to Prevent Childhood Obesity; BCMA Encourages Families to Practice Healthy Eating Patterns



MARCH 22, 2005 - 14:23 ET

Regular, Balanced Meals Help to Prevent Childhood
Obesity; BCMA Encourages Families to Practice Healthy
Eating Patterns

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - March 22, 2005) - Eating
regular, balanced meals and snacks reduces a child's risk of developing
preventable diseases related to childhood obesity. The BC Medical
Association urges parents to be food conscious. Providing
age-appropriate portions of nutritious foods for meals and snacks helps
parents ensure proper growth and development of their children.

Through its Eat well, Play well, Stay well campaign, the BCMA Council on
Health Promotion is equipping parents with information to make healthy
choices for their children in order to prevent and reduce cases of
childhood obesity. The rate of childhood obesity has tripled in Canada
over the last 25 years. Today 1 in 4 Canadian children are overweight or
obese. Obesity in children can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure,
high cholesterol, heart disease, and mental health problems lasting into

By eating more fruits and vegetables at meal and snack time, parents are
providing an example to their children. Eating a healthy breakfast,
lunch, and dinner, and small nutritious snacks between meals also helps
children stay energized and healthy.

"Healthy kids are more likely to become healthy adults. Teaching
children healthy eating patterns will influence their food choices for
life," says pediatrician Dr. Wilma Arruda.

Studies indicate that children who eat a balanced breakfast have better
concentration and learning abilities in school, and make healthier
eating choices throughout the day. A healthy breakfast includes a
combination of foods from three of the four food groups: grains, fruits
and vegetables, protein, and dairy. Cereal with milk and fruit, a peanut
butter sandwich with juice, or a yogurt and fruit shake with a muffin
are some examples of balanced breakfast options.

"Eating nutritious food at breakfast helps to provide children with the
right sources of energy and fuel needed to focus and stay active
throughout the day," says Dr. Arruda. All families are recommended to
make breakfast a regular part of their family routine.

Other suggestions include avoiding high calorie snacks before mealtimes,
limiting sweetened beverages and candy, serving one nutritious item at
each meal that your child likes to eat and staying away from fad diets.
Get your child involved in helping with the meals, with your guidance
and nutrition in mind. Serving a variety of foods at meals will also
help to keep children interested in mealtime. If you keep hitting a rut
with meals, visit the Dietitians of Canada website (www.dietitians.ca),
call Dial a Dietitian at 1 800 667-3438, or speak to your community
dietician or nutritionist to help with meal planning.

More information is found at www.bcma.org, and in the BCMA pamphlet
Eating Well on a Budget available from your doctor's office. This is the
second of nine health topics covered by the BCMA Eat well, Play well,
Stay well campaign.


Contact Information

    BC Medical Association
    Linda Munro
    Media contact
    (604) 638-2881 or (604) 680-1968