Who worries about heart attack risks in a four-year old, adult-onset type diabetes in a twelve-year old, or cancer risks from the food we eat? Well, perhaps we should be concerned. According to Dr. Christine Wood, the risk of developing cancer, diabetes, and heart disease can be significantly reduced through proper nutrition beginning in childhood. This book discusses health trends, how to instill lifelong healthy eating habits in our youth and outlines easy to implement tips for parents to encourage good nutrition from birth through adolescence.
Soft bound, 8 1/2 X 5, 219 pages, indexed, fully footnoted, references, charts; ISBN 978-0967338712
As just about any parent will tell you, getting your kids to eat healthfully can be a challenge, to say the least. Trying to combat outside influences such as advertisements, junk food-loving friends and a cultural tendency to reward good behavior with high-sugar treats can result in endless battles between parent and child—a fight that neither side really wins.
In How to Get Kids to Eat Great and Love It, Dr. Christine Wood provides both sound reasoning for, and practical steps to, encouraging healthy eating behaviors in children. Not only do the habits formed in childhood carry over into adulthood, a healthy diet can have a profound effect on a child’s health and behavior. Likewise, a poor diet can have numerous deleterious effects, not only on overall health and growth, but on behavior as well. Although American children are less likely to suffer from a lack of access to healthy foods, they are nonetheless at risk for malnutrition due to consumption of an unhealthy diet comprised largely of processed and nutrient-deficient foods. Wood carefully makes this argument in the first section of the book. Although many of the references cited are more than a decade old (the latest revised edition of this book was published in 2006), this research remains valid and provides a compelling case for the importance of instilling healthy eating habits as early as possible.
The second and largest section of the book covers practical tips and information for “nourishing” children from infants to adolescents. The chapters are divided by age, with specific tips for every stage of infancy, toddlers, elementary school-age children and adolescents. Case reports, information on allergies and what to look for, and how to identify eating disorders are among the topics covered, as well as eating tips for every age. Each section concludes with a round-up list of what parents should focus upon and expect at each age. Clearly, the author understands the realities and challenges of helping a child eat more healthfully—this information is extremely practical and does not present an unreasonable or unreachable ideal for healthy eating.
The third and final section examines the research related to diet, nutrients and common diseases and conditions such as allergies, asthma, skin conditions such as eczema, recurrent ear infections and attention deficit disorder. Again, although the research cited is a bit dated, it remains relevant. For parents who prefer to seek non-pharmacological answers to some of the health challenges commonly faced by children today, this section is invaluable. As in the previous section, each chapter concludes with a summary of information and advice that parents can easily apply to their children and families.
Sorting through the massive amount of often-conflicting nutritional information can feel like a full-time job for parents, but How to Get Kids to Eat Great and Love It! can help eliminate some of the guess work about what they should be feeding their kids. While outside influences will continue to pose a challenge, the information presented in this book can help parents encourage healthy eating and to feel good about the dietary choices they are making for—and with—their children.
What we liked:
- Thoroughly researched and clearly written for parents
- Practical tips that parents can actually use to help improve the eating habits of their children
- Nutrition advice is given for every age, from birth through adolescence
- Clarifies the link between diet and common childhood diseases and conditions
What we didn’t like:
- Due to the publication date (2006), some of the references and citations are more than a decade old. However, the information remains valid.
August 10, 2012