In 2019, more than 40% of Spanish children were overweight or obese, according to the results of the study Aladino from the Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition. This situation worsened in 2020, with the arrival of the pandemic and confinement. Although the effect of changing habits on child excess weight has not yet been accurately quantified, Primary Care pediatricians have been able to verify it in their consultations, especially in the population aged 7 to 12, as was shown at the inauguration of the Pediatric Update Course of the Spanish Association of Primary Care Pediatrics (AEPap).
In this context, faced with the challenge of recovering and promoting healthy habits, AEPap wants to call on families to try cooking and eating as a family as a key measure to combat obesity and overweight in childhood.
«Prevention is essential to obtain good health in the pediatric population. The healthy children of today will be the healthy adults of the future, and the acquisition of appropriate health habits, especially healthy eating habits, must be carried out so that it remains in childhood “, explains the vice president of AEPap and coordinator of the Group of Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Dr. Teresa Cenarro.
However, he assures that “despite the efforts and time spent in Primary Care consultations, the reality is that the prevalence of overweight and obesity in children is very high and has increased in the last year, in which many of our patients have done less physical exercise and have increased the consumption of unhealthy foods.
For this reason, AEPap proposes new formulas, “seeking the complicity of families and making them attractive to the child population,” says Dr. Cenarro, to improve their habits. Some of these activities can be found on the dissemination website of the Association, Family and Health, which has more than 700,000 users per month, one in four, from Spain and almost 75% from Latin America.
Among them the project stands out Cooking as a Family. This is an initiative launched by Dr. Carmen de la Torre, Primary Care pediatrician at the Santa Rosa de Córdoba Health Center and member of the AEPap Gastroenterology and Nutrition working group. This pediatrician is the author of the many recipes and menu proposals and menu plans that can be found in this section of Family and Health.
What do we eat tomorrow?
Among the contents of Cooking with the Family, the sections “What do we eat tomorrow?” Stand out, with examples of weekly menus balanced from a nutritional point of view and based on seasonal products. Also, the section «Family recipes», which includes traditional, simple, healthy and appetizing cooking recipes, suitable for preparing and tasting among the adults and children of the family.
It also includes recipes for special diets, prepared by pediatricians and nutritionists, for children with celiac disease, allergies, intolerance, and also for families who follow vegetarian diets. With this project “we try to make family meals appealing and fun, and also take advantage of the pull of television cooking programs aimed at children,” explains Dr. Cenarro.
This initiative is one of those that AEPap has undertaken in recent years to promote healthy eating habits. Among the latter, the contest for recipes prepared by pediatricians that was held at the 17th Congress of the Association in 2020 stands out. Also, the dissemination of the story “Mystery in the garden”, written and illustrated by Primary Care pediatricians.
This 2021, in addition to these own projects, AEPap has joined the celebration of the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables, designated by the United Nations General Assembly. The objective of this initiative is “to raise awareness, attract policy attention and share good practices regarding the consumption of fruits and vegetables and their nutritional and health benefits, as well as reducing the loss and waste of fruits and vegetables. vegetables”.