Excessive weight gain, especially in children and adolescents, due to consumption habits and pandemic conditions, worries families. Büşra Umut Oyman, a lecturer at the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics at Istanbul Kent University, stated that children who are put on the diet at an early age by families may experience significant problems in the following periods, and said that excessive restrictions applied in this period may negatively affect growth and development.

Stressing that children who are forced to diet may become obsessed with eating and try to eat something secret from their parents, they may become obsessed with food. See. Büşra Umut Oyman said, “In this case, children’s intuitive eating skills may be impaired. A child with limited food intake may be unable to distinguish between what he needs, when he is hungry or when he is full. Subjected to constant restraint, the child may begin to shape values ​​according to body shape. “There are beauty standards and begins to classify people according to these standards.”


Stating that healthy nutrition can be provided with various methods as an alternative to diet, Oyman said, “Instead of describing foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, consumption frequency should be controlled. We must teach children to be food neutral. These foods, which we refer to as bad, are usually products such as chocolate / cake / chips, and these products are often used to achieve a goal. ‘If you behave well, we buy chocolate’, ‘If you do your homework you will eat cake’, ‘You can’t eat ice cream before you finish your meal’ or we always ask them to finish their plates. In fact, stopping eating when they are full will help them control their feelings of satiety. Such situations complicate children’s ability to control their eating and drinking needs. “He also encourages him to eat when there is no reason to eat,” he said.

Lecturer said that while prohibited foods defined as bad always remain special and exciting in the mind of children, those defined as good (vegetables, fruits, yoghurt) will remain boring and ordinary. See. Oyman continued his words as follows:

“Another important point is to match foods with special occasions. Examples such as ‘birthday party, saying cake’, ‘going to the beach, saying ice cream’ creates neutrality towards food. However, if we limit the consumption of certain foods, children also become obsessed with these foods Food should not be kept for special occasions. Yes, there is nothing wrong with using the food to celebrate, but instead of waiting for a birthday / report card to eat pizza, it will be more positive to be able to say ‘this Tuesday is our pizza day’. “


Referring to the importance of asking children what they want to eat and offering options, Öğr. See. Oyman said to the children, ‘What shall I cook for you today?’ We have to offer options instead of saying. For example ‘do you want to eat cauliflower today or okra?’ There may be options such as. Because the child learns that his or her ideas are valuable and the responsibility of making choices. In this way, he eats the food he chooses with awareness. Otherwise, we may want something that is not at home, and when we fail to fulfill this request, we will cause a loss of trust. Also, meals should never be used as a reward or punishment. As a result of this, children begin to repeat and condition the same behaviors only to eat their favorite food. This causes them to turn into individuals who need constant approval in the future, ”he said.

Emphasizing that it should not be forgotten that parents are role models for their children, Büşra Umut Oyman also made the following recommendations to families:

“It would not be realistic and sustainable for parents who are still and snacking potato chips in front of TV to expect their children to eat healthy and be active. In addition, research suggests that children should not be cooked separately, and that it would be more appropriate for them to eat food that everyone at home. Of course, some days may be free days. For snacks, you can offer children healthy options to choose from. Nowadays, when we mostly stay at home, you can make healthy homemade cakes and crackers together. “

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