MANILA -- Watching what your children eat can protect them from life-threatening diseases and obesity, a health expert said Tuesday.
Dr. Sioksan Chan-Cua, a pediatric endocrinologist, told radio DZMM's "Magandang Gabi Dok" that many young children get sick because of their diet.
She said younger people nowadays are sometimes diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, which, in the past, only affects those above the age of 20.
"Type II diabetes dapat, pang-matanda. Kapag bata, Type 1. Pero may mga batang mataba na may Type II diabetes kahit bata pa sila," Cua said.
Although some children have genetic susceptibility to type 1 diabetes, Cua said obesity and poor diet are major risk factors for diabetes.
To prevent children from becoming obese, she advised parents to watch over their children's diet.
For a balanced diet, a child's plate of food should have more fruits and vegetables than carbohydrates (rice, bread or pasta), and protein (meat or eggs).
A quarter of the plate should be filled with carbohydrates, and another quarter with protein. Half of the plate should be filled with fruits and vegetables.
Cua reminded parents that it is their responsibility to teach children to eat a balanced diet.
Admitting that it may be difficult to feed children with vegetables, she advised using positive reinforcement to encourage them to eat better.
She also advised parents against forcing their children to eat vegetables, as these can make the experience miserable, and they may end up making poor food choices later in life.
"If you make it na masaya, they will learn," Cua said.
She advised starting with small portions of vegetables. If your child does not like, try it again another time.
It is also better to try and look for ways to make vegetables more appetizing for children.
As younger children tend to imitate their parents, Cua advised parents to set a good example, especially in eating a balanced meal.