Procreation especially for people in stable and committed relationships is dreams come true. Yes! The joy and preparations that come with the news of carrying a baby are usually over whelming. The thought of bringing a soul to earth for many is indeed blissful! Unfortunately this is not the case for most Ugandans.
According to ministry of health, 25% of Ugandan teenagers become pregnant by age 19, close to half of these are married before their 18th birthday and continue having babies into their mid-40s. At this age, most girls have not finished school and are not financially stable. Therefore cannot fully take up the responsibilities of a parent in child care.
Child care refers to looking after a child or a group of children. Child care providers play an important role in supporting the growth of children. The period from pregnancy to age 3 years is the most critical; the brain grows faster than at any other time in life; 80% of a baby’s brain is formed at this age. Therefore a child needs a safe, secure and loving environment with the right nutrition and stimulation from their parents and care givers. Children who do not have benefits of nurturing care in their earliest years are more likely to encounter learning difficulties in school, in turn reducing their future earnings, impacting the wellbeing and prosperity of their families and societies.
Threats like extreme poverty, insecurity, gender inequalities, violence, environmental toxins and poor mental health reduce the caregivers’ capabilities to protect, support and promote young children’s development.
Child care providers also play an important role in teaching healthy food choices to maintain a healthy diet and body weight. Here are some ideas for healthy feeding in children.
- Weight loss diets are not appropriate for children.
It is best to offer overweight children a variety of healthy food, correct portion sizes and opportunities to be active.
- Offer children a variety of nutritious foods at planned meal and snack times.
Join children in eating a variety of foods and look for opportunities to discuss the different food groups and the importance of eating foods from all of them.
- Teach children how to learn when they are hungry or satisfied.
Feed infants when they are hungry not simply because they cry, learn their cues of hunger. Allow toddlers to leave food on their plates even if you believe they have not eaten enough.
- Be a role model for a healthy lifestyle.
Children like to imitate adults and will learn many of their attitudes about healthy or unhealthy eating and physical activity from you.
Choose protein rich foods like seafood, lean meat, poultry, eggs, beans, peas, soy products, unsalted nuts and seeds, Vegetables, Grains and Diary while limiting your child’s calories from added sugar, saturated fat and salt for your child’s healthy feeding.