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Expatriate International Medical News: Expert says involve fussy youngsters in mealtimes

Expat health insurance customers ought to engage youngsters in food preparation if they wish to prevent them from becoming fussy eaters.

As it is important for the young to eat healthy balanced diets, with attitudes to food developed when in infancy often continuing throughout life, British Dietetic Association dietician Dr Sarah Schenker recommended giving children "some sort of input" in mealtimes.

This can be as simple as cutting up a carrot while supervised or "stirring a pot of soup", she declared.

The expert explained boys and girls are more engaged with their foods when this occurs and will not feel that the dish has been "plonked on a table in front of them".

When children aged four to five have a high body mass index (BMI), it is more likely that their teachers will report they have emotional problems when they are eight or nine, an Australian study published in Pediatrics discovered.

Furthermore, these overweight youngsters also generally have worse relationships with their peers,

This factor has not been linked to any mental health problems and further prospective research is required to ascertain whether any neurological issues can be linked to high BMIs in the earliest years, the investigators declared.

Involving offspring in food preparation can also bring a family together to consume meals, Dr Schenker noted.

Eating meals as part of a household discourages snacking or "disjointed eating" and promotes healthy nutrition, she asserted.

The expert said: "If people are sitting down to meals to eat together, they are much more likely to eat a nutritious, balanced meal."

Dr Schenker admitted modern-day lifestyles can often make this difficult, due to time constraints, with many families eating in isolation, in different places and whenever is convenient.

"So many young children just eat on their own," she pointed out.

Nonetheless, little boys and girls are "naturally fussy" in their food habits, the expert stated.

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