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Monday, 24 November 2014

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Poor diet can have permanent effects - Cumbria health chief

WHEN families can’t afford nutritional foods, it can have a damaging impact on health, mood and development.

Aside from the obvious health implications a fatty diet absent of fresh fruit and vegetables can have, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, research has found poor diet can impact on behaviour and performance in school.

Colin Cox, assistant director for health at Cumbria County Council, said: “Balanced nutrition is important to a child’s development because children need specific nutrients to thrive and grow.

“Children who consume a poor diet often suffer negative consequences. Short-term malnutrition can sometimes be reversed, but some effects of a poor diet in children can be permanent.

“A poor diet could mean or lead to low energy levels, poor growth, obesity and behaviour issues and other less obvious issues.”

People who cannot afford a full, varied diet will often miss out on vital vitamins and nutrients, affecting the immune system, bone growth, energy levels and emotional wellbeing. The effects can be both short and long-term.

The World Bank notes a correlation between poor childhood nutrition and poor academic performance. Children who do not eat a suitable amount of calories or have bad patterns of eating are also more likely to have behavioural problems and have difficulty maintaining friendships.

Poor nutrition makes it more likely for a person to have a stroke, or develop cancer and heart disease in later life.

Mr Cox added: “It’s important children get a balanced diet that meets their needs. Between the ages of two and five, children should gradually move to eating the same foods as the rest of the family. This would usually be a mix of vegetables, salad, fruit, starchy foods like bread, rice, potatoes and pasta, protein foods like meat, fish, eggs and beans, and dairy products such as milk, cheese or yoghurt. It is important children have just a small amount of food and drink that are high in fats and sugars.”

The Barrow Foodbank provides a mix of food types and not just tinned produce, but fresh fruit and vegetables should always form an essential part of every lifestyle.

The Evening Mail is running a campaign to raise enough money to pay for a tonne of food for the food bank. Cheques should be addressed to Barrow Foodbank and posted to the Evening Mail’s offices in Abbey Road, Barrow.

To donate by credit or debit card, call our accounts team to make a secure payment on 01229 840173.

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