Qualification: NCFE CACHE Level 3 Diploma for the Early Years Educator
Unit: Unit 1.1: Support healthy lifestyles for children through the provision of food and nutrition
Learning outcome: Understand the impact of poor diet on children’s health and development.
Assessment criteria: Explain the impacts of poor diet on children’s health and development in the: short term, long term.
Diets that lack vital nutrients can have several negative impacts on children’s health and development.
In the short term, a poor diet can lead to problems such as malnutrition, anaemia, and dehydration. Malnutrition can stunt growth, cause developmental delays, and make children more susceptible to infections. Anaemia can cause fatigue and impair cognitive function. Dehydration can cause headaches, dizziness, and fatigue.
In addition, if a child is not eating healthily, it can lead to decreased levels of activity, lack of motivation, poor concentration, susceptibility to infection, and behavioural issues.
In the long term, a poor diet can lead to chronic diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Overweight and obese children are more likely to become overweight or obese adults, leading to various health problems in the future and the development of bad habits that may be more difficult to break. Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that can lead to severe complications such as kidney failure, blindness, and amputations.
In addition, a lack of essential nutrients can also impair a child’s holistic development – for example, a child that is overweight or fatigued is likely to want to participate in activities. Too much sugar can lead to oral health conditions, such as tooth decay.