Statistics show that every fifth person in Serbia is obese and that every twentieth child is obese. Since 1975 the number has increased tenfold with a tendency for further growth. At the first online conference on proper nutrition for children organized by Mlekoprodukt it was announced that obesity is not only an aesthetic problem, but an important health issue that is the cause of many diseases, and all habits start from childhood and the earliest age of a child.
Bojana Momčilov, Communications and CSR manager; Dr. Jelena Jovanović pediatrician; Dr. Snežana Dejanović, hygiene specialist and nutritionist; Leontina Vukomanović, singer, composer and songwriter; Maša Babić, PR consultant, Consulting M. (Photo: FVS / Depositphotos)
As obesity and inadequate nutrition have become serious social problems in our country, Mlekoprodukt company, part of the Savencia Fromage & Dairy group, decided to contribute to solving this problem by educating children, parents, preschool and school staff on the importance of proper nutrition in child development through the Biser Nutri Akademija project.
“We are especially proud to conduct the first national socially responsible campaign in Serbia, the Biser Nutri Akademija, which is dedicated to our youngest consumers by raising awareness about creating healthy eating habits, guided by the Positive Food approach,” said Bojana Momčilov, Communications and CSR manager.
The conference was attended by experts in children’s health and balanced nutrition – Dr. Jelena Jovanović pediatrician, Dr. Snežana Dejanović, hygiene specialist and nutritionist, and Leontina Vukomanović, singer, composer and songwriter, who spoke about experiences in obtaining proper eating habits of her daughter.
During the conference, the experts talked about three topics – the principles of proper nutrition, the health aspect of proper nutrition and the acquisition of proper eating habits.
“The best recipe for proper nutrition is quite simple and reads: enough, but moderate, varied, but mixed, properly prepared and evenly distributed,” said Dr. Snežana Dejanović, a hygiene specialist and nutritionist, emphasizing that the child should have access to all food groups in the appropriate quantity and ratio so that it can achieve growth and progress. Dr. Dejanović participated in the creation of the Rulebook on the healthy nutrition of preschool and primary school children and spoke about the preparation and distribution of hot meals in schools.
Doctors agreed that the child’s diet should be based on foods of plant origin, and some deficiencies in plant foods should be supplemented with foods of animal origin.
“Every child is a ‘cosmos for himself.’ There are no ready-made solutions from the Internet, taking over diets without consulting a doctor “, concluded Dr. Jelena Jovanović, emphasizing that correct habits are created during breastfeeding and that they manifest at a later age.
During the conference, it was pointed out that a very important role in the formation of proper eating habits has the family, as well as educators, peers, industry and the state which adopts legal regulations.
Leontina emphasized that from her experience, breakfast in the morning, going to the market with the child and allowing her to try different smells and tastes of food are the basis in acquiring the right habits.
“Every mom has a dilemma about whether she has fed her child enough. When you are at peace with yourself, it is clear to you that you only need to give your child a colorful variety of things that they will just want to eat. It is difficult to be a parent who recognizes and understands their child. Unfortunately, we still rely on stereotypes, and not only on that, but also on scientific knowledge. The child should be interested in other colorful things”, concluded Leontina.
At the very end of the conference, the answers to the received questions related to the intake of sugar, the introduction of diets for children and the purchase of ready-made healthy meals followed.
Initially conceived as a caravan that would tour cities across Serbia, inform parents, children and school employees about the principles of proper nutrition, the Biser Nutri Akademija was held online and broadcasted via social networks due to the coronavirus.
In the upcoming period, the team of the Biser Nutri Akademija plans a series of five educational and entertaining events for children, parents and other interested parties, in order to raise awareness about proper nutrition of preschool and school children in five different cities in Serbia: Zrenjanin, Belgrade, Novi Sad, Niš and Kragujevac.