The majority of polled professionals miscalculated crucial levels of salts and fats and were unsure of the correct calorie intake required for under 5’s
Children under five are at risk of stomach cancer, asthma; obesity & kidney disease from incorrect levels of salts, sugars and fats in their diets. And, when health professionals were questioned, a staggering majority was ignorant of the safe nutritional levels.
“If the professionals don’t know – how are mums, dads and carers meant to be able to feed our children properly?” said founder of www.grub4life.org.uk and the Report's Author, Nigel Denby RD.
The majority of polled professionals miscalculated crucial levels of salts and fats and were unsure of the correct calorie intake required for under 5’s. “The levels of salt, fats and sugars that our under 5’s consume is damaging their health on a daily basis” concluded Denby. This report highlights how few professionals are themselves aware of safe levels.
But an overwhelming majority calling on the Government to issue guidelines on safe levels for all under 5’s in the UK. “There are no minimum standards set for EYC or any nutritional training for childcare staff. The current legislation assumes there is a nutritional ‘common sense amongst Early Years professionals and Children Centre Cooks” says Denby “ But if that ‘common sense’ isn’t shared amongst the Dietitians, what help can there be for the overworked EY professionals?” In just salt alone, the average under 5 could be consuming 6 times the safe levels – every single day. Children under 3 are recommended only 1 gm of salt per day, 2 gms for 1>3 years and 3 gms are considered safe for 4 > 6 year olds. For many a daily packet of crisps are enough to put youngsters in the danger zone.
• 89% called for standards to be set for EYC Nutrition
• More than 8 out of 10 did not know the correct number of calories required by EYC’s 5’s
• More than half didn’t know the safe levels of salt for the under 5’s
• 7 out of 10 respondents did not know the safe levels of fat for under 5’s
• 60% were unaware of the correct levels of sugar under 5s should have
• Despite nearly half the respondents having children of their own
The poll was taken in the week that the University of Bristol delivered its findings that the wrong levels of salts and fats in Early Years leads to irreparable reduction in a child’s IQ in later life. “Britain is poised on the brink of a childhood health time bomb. We are already one of the fattest nations in Europe and we know that is firmly rooted in our children’s diets” said Denby.
The poll was conducted in February 2011 by the profession’s trade magazine Network Health Dietitian & Early Year’s community www.Grub4Life.org.uk. Free resources for parents & Carers are available from www.Grub4Life.org.uk
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Do’s and Don’ts for your children’s food by Nigel Denby RD
Typical daily diet for an under 5’s
An ‘alternative’ healthy diet for under 5’s
Official Guidelines from CASH – Consensus Action On Salt
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