The Benefits of Good Nutrition and Daily Exercise for Children

13 June 2018

Good nutrition and plenty of exercise are the building blocks for strong growth, healthy development and lifelong wellbeing for children.

Statistics suggest that children are not eating enough healthy food with one in three children being overweight and about one in six being obese. They are also not getting enough exercise and it is essential that children get 60 minutes of exercise on a daily basis.

The benefits of good nutrition and daily exercise are clear to see.

Mental and behavioural benefits:

  • Good nutrition is essential to healthy brain development in children which is, of course, critical to learning.

Children who exercise regularly and eat healthily are likely to:

  • Perform better academically
  • Feel better about themselves, their bodies and their abilities
  • Cope with stress and regulate their emotions better
  • Avoid feelings of low self-esteem, anxiety and depression

Establishing healthy eating and exercise habits early in life can lead to long term healthy behaviour in adult hood.

Physical benefits:

  • Children require a wide variety of nutrients (e.g. protein, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, minerals and vitamins) to assist in their daily growth and development and to protect them from childhood illnesses.
  • Daily exercise also helps to build stronger muscles, bones and joints and limit excess body fat.
  • Children develop better posture and balance.
  • Healthy eating also cuts down on unhealthy weight control behaviours
  • Healthy eating and consistent physical activity help to prevent chronic illnesses that appear in adulthood associated with obesity.

So what can parents and school do to ensure that children grow up in a healthy manner?

By introducing children to a variety of healthy food choices and activities we can teach them how to live a healthier lifestyle that can ensure proper growth and development for the rest of their lives.

As parents and as educators it is essential we role model healthy habits.

In school topics based on healthy eating are incorporated into the curriculum and sport is an integral part of each day. Even from a young age children are encouraged to be discerning about food choices and also to learn about the components of a healthy meal through discussions on the food pyramid. As they grow children learn more about their bodies and what can help or harm them.

At POWIIS Primary we will not offer a full catering system but rather the opportunity for parents to provide a healthy lunch for their child which can be stored in refrigerators or brought into school at lunchtime. A meal can also be ordered from our vendor which will be delivered in time for lunch each day. In this way parents can monitor exactly what their child eats and can then provide a suitable nutritious evening meal at home.  It is hoped that the children will arrive at school having eaten a healthy balanced breakfast which includes some protein so they are ready for the day ahead. Children burn energy quickly so a snack in the morning and one later in the afternoon, if they are staying at school for activities or a late practise, are a great idea. Again these should be nutritious. Fresh fruit is always a favourite especially if mixed with nuts.

Every child is encouraged to take part in whole school sport activities and also to explore physical activities that they may maintain through to adult life. POWIIS Primary will offer a comprehensive sport programme for all. The separate playgrounds allow different physical activities, appropriate to the ages of the children to be developed, with the Year 5 and 6 one being known as a jungle gym which is designed to develop upper body strength.

The whole ethos of POWIIS Primary is about developing healthy, active and well-balanced children who will continue with a healthy lifestyle throughout their lives.