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Preschoolers’ level of activity and their parents’ nutrition practices regarding their nutrition at a caribbean government owned preschool

Author: 
Joseph-Browne, R., Onuoha, P. C. and Ezenwaka, C. E.
Subject Area: 
Health Sciences
Abstract: 

Aim: The purpose of this study is to investigate the practices of parents of children (ages 2 to 5 years) at one of the government owned Pre-Schools in Antigua as it relates to the nutritional needs and appropriate level of activity. Methods: The design is an exploratory descriptive study of the practices of parents of children in Antigua regarding their children’s nutritional needs as well as their children’s levels of activity. It used a combination of structured questionnaire to capture responses pertinent to the study from the parents, a semi-structured interview with the teachers of the school, and an observation of the children’s activity while in school. The structures of these instruments were based on the food and nutrition guidelines for health of children and young people of the Ministry of Health (2012), of Antigua and Barbuda. Result: Results indicate that 22 of the parents participated from the expected 30 representing 73.3% of the population. Of this, 56% report that their children are active (active and very active), and spending an average of 61.3 minutes in outdoors physical activities. Results also show that the children are packed an average of 3.5 items each day to come to school and drink an average of 4.4 ounces of fluid daily. These are at variance with the recommendations of the Ministry of Health. Conclusion: The importance of early nutrition interventions and their relationship to cognitive ability in the short- and long-term is very clear (Kleinman, 2014). It is also clear that both nutrition and early stimulation programs work better when children benefit from them simultaneously (Kleinman, 2014). These results should concern any parent or teacher who has or interacts with preschool age children – ages 2 to 5 years old because they are the future, and if they are fed improper diets of inadequate amounts of fruits, vegetables and water they will become inactive, overweight, and obese

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