Contributor: Louise Mercieca
Now, there’s lots in the media about children’s health, nutrition, childhood obesity etc. But what do those headlines mean? Louise looks behind the headlines and some of the health issues children (and adults) can face as a result of their diet. There’s new Government initiatives launched to tackle childhood obesity rates by 2030 but Louise says these measures don’t go far enough or indeed focus on the root of the problem.
In response to her own frustrations at the types of food readily available for children (from the very young to teens) Louise decided to do something about it! Now, not being a celebrity Louise can’t quite leap in to schools in the same way that Jamie Oliver managed, but she has written a book ‘How Food Shapes Your Child’.
In the book Louise combines nutritional science and facts on children’s health including chapters on, building a child’s brain, foods for concentration, memory, behaviour and sleep along with discussing the facts behind the headlines on obesity and sugar.
There are some scary statistics in there and Louise is keen that these are shared, as isn’t it better to know the nutritional impact of food, both good and bad? For example: –
- 1 in 4 five-year olds have tooth decay in their milk teeth
- In the UK a quarter of children aged 2 to 10 are overweight or obese
- It is well documented that obese youth are more at risk of a variety of health conditions (metabolic, heart disease, high blood pressure, joint issues, breathing problems, and high cholesterol)
Really? You may say, high cholesterol in children? Well unfortunately yes. Children have all of the same negative health associations with a poor diet as an adult does. They do not simply ‘burn it off’ or ‘grow into it’.
Now that’s all quite serious and, frankly it needs to be but Louise is not preachy and is keen to get over a serious message in an understandable and fun way.
To make the book appealing to small children Louise worked with her son Owen aged 4 who helped to design and name a team of characters. This team appears throughout the book and each have different roles to play for example; Dr Bertha Carrot is the clever one who can explain some of the nutritional science and Captain Red Pepper Pants (designed by Owen) thinks that eating veg is super cool! Children can interact with these characters both via the book and the pack of team cards that comes with each purchase.
Now, it’s not all about the problems! It’s also about the solutions. The second section of the book is a recipe book with sections for breakfast, lunch, dinner, puddings and cakes. Yes cakes! Louise isn’t anti-cake she is anti ‘rubbish cake’. The recipe section features a chapter on hiding vegetables (well you do need to be sneaky with these kids sometimes!) and how to make healthy alternatives to kids favourites such as ketchup, baked beans, chicken nuggets, burgers etc. There’s even a healthy lunch box section for inspiration to jazz up school lunches and picnics.
Just a few examples of what people say about the book: –
“I cannot recommend this book highly enough.”
“Brilliant book for busy mums who want to learn about nutrition and feed their children healthier”
“Every parent (and grandparents) should read this book. Well done to Louise Mercieca for writing this book!”
“This should be a must for anyone with children, working with children or in any way involved in feeding them!”
“Just LOVED this book, it is such an incredible resource when you have young children, I couldn’t find anything similar on the market”
“Definitely good value, especially if you’re worried about the health of your child (who isn’t?!)”
To get your hands on a copy order here.
Louise Mercieca is a personal nutrition expert and founder of The Health Kick. Louise is also currently a Mummy on a mission to improve children’s health via nutrition. One of Louise’s main aims is to arm fellow parents with important knowledge about the types of food that aid childhood development and promote good health.