We often assume that malnutrition only refers to underweight children. In fact, malnutrition refers to deficiencies, excesses or imbalances in a person's intake of energy and/or nutrients.

The term malnutrition covers two broad groups of conditions. One is "undernutrition"; the other is overweight and obesity. Beat Dieticians are qualified and experienced in identifying and treating underweight and overweight children from a dietary point of view.

The WHO published research and recommendations in 2017 with a strong focus on targeting childhood obesity. With the increase in Obesity statistics in South Africa, our focus should be aimed at introducing a healthy lifestyle in early childhood to avoid not only obesity but also the development of chronic conditions later in life.

Prevention is the best approach for overweight and obesity. Parenting techniques, such as finding reasons and ways to praise the child's behaviour but never using food as a reward will assist in the development of healthy eating behaviours in early childhood. Children should be able to self-regulate their food intake.

Children mimic their parent;s behaviour, so not only is it important to offer healthy foods to your child; we recommend that children should be introduced to a healthy lifestyle through observing the rest of the family, including their brothers and sisters as well as their parents.

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