Looking at different eating habits of children from around the globe can be disheartening. While some countries may tout a healthy nutritional upbringing for their kids; there are far too many others that are lacking.
In America, roughly one-third of children are overweight or obese; a statistic that has more than tripled in the last 40 years. In a country where there is access to so many different varieties of food, how can that be possible? Unfortunately, processed foods and fast-food dining are to be blamed largely. While some households may be getting their fill of vegetables at every snack and meal; the research out there is showing that many are leaving vegetables out of their diet on a regular basis.
Clearly, America’s eating habits are not the best, but is this country really so far off from the others? Take a look at three different eating practices from around the world:
The Japanese diet is among the healthiest in the world. Rich in foods such as vegetables, fresh fish, soy, rice and fruit (often for dessert); those living in Japan are enjoying, longer healthier lives as a result. In addition to this; the portion sizes, for children and adults alike, tend to be small, and they have learned to stop eating before they are full.
Once renowned for its healthy Mediterranean diet; Italy has taken a bit of a turn for the worse in recent years. With food consumption previously so high in olive oil, fruits, vegetables, legumes and lean protein and low in sugar; there has been a recent switch among Italian children with them eating more processed foods. The result, much like that of America, has been an increasing obesity rate for the children of Italy.
From the time of the settlement of the country; Australia has had an eclectic mixture of foods. With influences from right there in the Australian bush to places like England and Ireland. While the cuisine has typically consisted of meat or fish at its center, with potatoes of some variety as the side; more and more Australians are beginning to partake in a healthier, more vegetarian lifestyle. The accessibility of processed foods to children cannot be overlooked though, and it is a contributing factor to the rise of obesity in the youth of Australia.
It is so clear that the eating habits of all children from around the world are directly impacted by the environments to which they are exposed. A home that surrounds a family with whole, unprocessed foods and promotes a steady consumption of fruits and vegetables; for example, is a home that will likely be filled with children of a healthy weight and overall countenance. It’s important to carry this on at school, and you’ll find that an international school will set the benchmark for helping children make healthy food choices. That is the type of approach to healthy eating that will further teach children the importance of how good nutrition can positively affect their health.
Research consistently shows a direct correlation between processed food and obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and even depression. If you and your family have relied upon a diet that primarily consists of this type of food, make the change today. Serve more vegetables, fruits, legumes, healthy fats and whole grains, and limit the processed food. The change might be hard in the beginning, but the influence it has over your child’s health will be worth it.