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Dangers of nutrition education for children

Posted by on Feb 28, 2009 in Blog Posts |

This is a great article with science and anecdotes in the NYT about how much of theĀ “nutrition education” for children can be so dangerous. A 4 or 6 year-old is not cognitively developed enough to learn about nutrition the way adults may think about it. Their job should be deciding how much to eat at meal and snacks, not what to eat. It is why I’m so scared with the push for nutrition education in preschools and daycare. Labeling foods as “good” or “bad,” “healthy” or “unhealthy” (which a child will turn into “good” or “bad”) makes judgements about food and brings guilt, fear, and shame into the relationship with food.

Chances are your school staff are not trained to provide appropriate nutrition education. Many argue they shouldn’t be doing it at all, while they should be providing positive food experiences perhaps through cooking, tasting, or garden experiments linked to science class- all presented without judgement. You may want to look into what messages your kids are getting from their educators. Though well-intentioned, the message may not be benign.
Variety and moderation are the key to good nutrition.
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