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Mighty Blog

Healthy eating for children

Healthy eating is an important part of every child’s health and development. Children need vitamins and nutrients from healthy foods in order for their bodies and minds to grow. Eating well can help children develop strong bones, stay alert and attentive, improve their self-esteem and reduce the risk of long-term health complications.

There are a variety of factors, including a poor diet, lack of physical activity, community environment and/or genetics that may lead to childhood obesity, rates of which are rapidly increasing. This increases the risks of health issues like heart disease, high cholesterol and/or blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. Additionally, children with obesity are likely to have obesity as adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Though there are many factors that contribute to childhood obesity, research also suggests that the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) is one of them. In addition, research suggests that SSBs may contribute to increases in cardiovascular disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, liver disease, and certain types of cancers.  Almost half of the added-sugar in an average American diet comes from sugar-sweetened beverages.

Reducing the consumption of SSBs and promoting other better-for-you beverages is one small step we can all take towards adopting healthier lifestyles. For more information about SSBs and some fun better-for-you beverage ideas, visit: The not-so-sweet truth about sugar-sweetened beverages.

It’s important that parents and kids work together to make healthy choices, including eating a balanced diet, consuming appropriate portions, and choosing fruits and vegetables over sugary treats and fast food. Developing positive eating habits isn’t always easy, but following proper diet and nutrition at an early age can lead to healthy decisions in the future and health benefits that could last a lifetime.

Our experts

Gigi Chawla, MD

Gigi Chawla, MD, is a pediatrician and hospitalist. She is the senior medical director for the primary care division at Children’s Minnesota.

Molly Martyn, MD

Molly Martyn, MD, is a pediatrician and hospitalist at Children’s Minnesota.

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Healthy eating habits for infants, toddlers, kids and teens

Learn from Children’s Minnesota experts about healthy eating tips for different ages:

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