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Childhood Obesity PreventionInternational Research, Controversies and Interventions$
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Jennifer A. O'Dea and Michael Eriksen

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199572915

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199572915.001.0001

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Developing positive approaches to nutrition education and the prevention of child and adolescent obesity: First, do no harm

Developing positive approaches to nutrition education and the prevention of child and adolescent obesity: First, do no harm

Chapter:
(p.31) Chapter 3 Developing positive approaches to nutrition education and the prevention of child and adolescent obesity: First, do no harm
Source:
Childhood Obesity Prevention
Author(s):

Jennifer A. O’Dea

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199572915.003.0003

This chapter outlines the many important benefits of childhood nutrition, including the promotion of growth, development, immunity, brain function, dental health, resistance to adult diseases, and the development of sound eating habits for life. Whilst weight control and the prevention of overweight and obesity are valid factors in teaching about healthy eating, they are not the only factors and they should not dominate messages about food and nutrition. The most effective way to promote healthy eating is to engage students with some sort of personal relevance and personal interest so that they learn to apply the nutrition theory to the food choices in their everyday lives. The chapter therefore includes some information about the perceived benefits of healthy eating from a large survey of 5,000 schoolchildren from primary and secondary schools. Students learn to become motivated towards healthy eating because of the many personal advantages it may confer on them as individuals. It also discusses the potentially adverse impact of nutrition education and weight related messages among children and their parents. As health and nutrition educators and clinical professionals, we must all remember to employ one of the most important principles of modern medicine and prevention science, ‘First, do no harm’.

Keywords:   nutrition education, children, adolescents, prevention, education, schools, teachers, community, public health

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