| Dubai, United Arab Emirates


Should children eat sweets at Christmas time?

Dr. Sameer Kallaroth shares her views on eating sweet treats

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During the festive season children can be exposed to a lot of sweet treats, which means one thing — a lot of sugar! We spoke to Dr. Sameer Kallaroth, Consultant Pediatrics and Neonatology at Danat Al Emarat Hospital, for some health advice.

Christmas can mean kids are eating a lot of sugar. How can parents keep their kids’ healthy during the festive period?
Kids tend to eat more food during festive periods as there is an increased availability of choice, especially when it comes to food which is very rich in sugar. Parents can help their kids by making sure they eat sensibly, with moderation, establishing clear limits and intakes. They should also take this opportunity to talk to them about the risks of obesity, which is on the rise in the UAE.

Another idea is to be creative and find healthy substitutes for the highly calonific items we often see on the tables during the festive period.

Above all, the key is to always set time aside for some active play and exercise.

Any tips on how to limit their sugar intake?
Make sure there is always some fruit, vegetables and whole grain items around. Include low-calorie dishes on your menu and volunteer to bring one if you are heading out for a dinner at a friend’s house. That way you will ensure there is at least one healthy option available for your kids. Show them how to make colourful, healthy plates, with small portions of the more calonific items they will eventually want to try. Instead of fizzy pops, opt for fresh juices and smoothies. Avoid candies or items that are decorated with sugar.

Do you notice kids are very unhealthy during the winter months, and that it can lead to increased weight gain?
During winter months, kids tend to stay indoors more and spend plenty of time in front of the TV, or hooked to their video games. Parents should set the example by being active themselves and planning activities that encourage children to do the same. They can also limit TV watching and think of gifts that will promote physical activity. Outings can be a great way to stay fit and spend more time together as a family.

Should kids be doing execise over the festive period?
The American Department of Health recommends that children aged six to 17 years should have 60 minutes or more of physical activity each day.

How much exercise would you recommend?
It is important to encourage young people to participate in physical activities that are appropriate for their age, that are enjoyable, and that offer variety. If there is no variety it becomes very difficult to engage children to do physical activities.

About Danat Al Emarat
Danat Al Emarat is a world-class speciality women and children’s hospital and managed by Singaporean ParkwayHealth, a subsidiary of Southeast Asia’s largest private healthcare provider, Parkway Pantai LLC.

The five-storey hospital covers an area of 45,000 square metres. It offers a comprehensive range of inpatient and outpatient medical services, full-fledged Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Paediatric Center, Woman’s Diagnostics and Breast Imaging, Surgery, Obstetrics and Gynecology and others, all of which are equipped with the latest technology. The hospital also ensures it employs highly-qualified staff to provide unmatched patient and family-centered care.

For more information visit, Danat Al Emarat, visit www.danatalemarat.ae. (02 614 9999).

Time Out Dubai,

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