Nutrition is essential in cognitive development
The bad nutritional and physical activity habits are associated with a negative influence on cognitive development , psychological and physical development of children , according to a study for four years in 27 pediatric outpatient clinics primary 8 provinces and 430 children aged 4 and 14 years old. To carry out the work, the Test Krece Plus tool , endorsed by the Spanish Association of Pediatrics, was used to determine the nutritional, psychological and physical activity status of the child and adolescent population.
The study, which is included in the book Psychology and Nutrition , by Francisco Rodriguez Santos, professor of Psychology at the Autonomous University of Madrid; Javier Aranceta, president of the Spanish Society of Community Nutrition, and Lluis Serra Majem, president of the Foundation for Nutritional Research, with the collaboration of Kellogg’s and the Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition, establishes that 19 percent of the Children studied are at an average level of nutrition , and 24 percent in a low level, while the prevalence of overweight and obese children is 16 percent.
Likewise, minors with a higher BMI rated worse and with certain anomalies in the psychological test , in which motor skills, cognitive and linguistic development and social and affective relationships were valued. “It seems that the psychological alterations are associated with obesity, the consumption of sweets and with a reduction in the quality of breakfast and hours of physical exercise, and a lower monitoring of the Mediterranean diet, ” explains Serra. Likewise, “children with more worries and high anxiety have a worse nutritional level and more risk of developing a disorder of eating behavior (ACT) in adolescence,” says Rodriguez.
For the development
According to Arancenta, “eating habits are the external framework of physical development and a health proposal for all people.” Thus, they influence health and development, and psychological and cognitive aspects. The quality of the breakfast, its quantity and its omission influence the cognitive aspects , especially in the attention. “In the Perseo study we found that about 5 percent of school children do not eat breakfast , which negatively affects the level of attention.”
Food is a social behavior that produces a pleasant perception and modifies emotions and feelings. It may also reflect the need for self – control , in the case of patients with eating disorders, or cultural aspects, regarding the prohibition of certain foods.
To avoid eating disorders from childhood, Rodriguez proposes psycho education that extends preferences regarding food , as well as preventing food from reinforcing self-esteem, and emphasizing “ethical and not only aesthetic values, in addition to promoting food as a social and pleasant act “. According to Serra, in the Enkid study it was observed that in children who eat breakfast alone the quality is reduced from the nutritional and psychological point of view. Something similar happens at dinner, or if the family meets in front of the television.
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