Give your kids some culture: Make a start with yoghurt
Scientists reckon it’s great for fighting childhood obesity
We all want smart, healthy children and the answer may lie in their school snack – yoghurt.
Researchers and scientists say SA’s documented issues of micronutrient deficiencies and overweight children could be overcome by regular consumption of yoghurt.
At the Realising Children’s Potential summit this week scientists reviewed the strength of current scientific knowledge regarding the health benefits of yoghurt.“Yoghurt is more than the sum of its individual parts,” said Dr André Marette, scientific director at the Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods, Laval University, Quebec. “Studies suggest that regular yoghurt eaters have healthier eating behaviour and a better lifestyle. Yoghurt consumption has been associated with eating less fast food, fried food, fried chips, processed meat, red meat, pizzas, soft drinks and alcohol, and being more physically active.”
He said the evidence supports the use of yoghurt as part of a healthy diet to combat obesity, improve cardiometabolic health and reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes, which is on the rise in SA.Professor Angelo Tremblay, from the Department of Kinesiology at Laval University, said less traditional determinants of obesity such as short sleep duration, low calcium and dairy intake, insufficient vitamin intake and “suboptimal feeding behaviour” can affect weight.
Tremblay said there is vast evidence on the positive effects of yoghurt consumption on weight. In addition to improved gut health, the calcium and protein from dairy is a great appetite improver because it creates a feeling of fullness from good nutrition.
Lebo Matshego-Roda, a nutritionist and researcher at Unisa, said weight statistics prove that SA kids don’t eat enough dairy, calcium, fruit and vegetables, and have high intakes of sweetened drinks. “Along with this, breakfast skipping and being inactive contribute to the alarming statistic that 14% of children aged six to 14 years are overweight or obese.”
She encouraged parents to feed children milk, maas or yoghurt every day to combat obesity.