AROUND 10 per cent of students bring dairy products and food rich in protein to schools, while the rest lack a nutritional diet.
With concern over the negative effects of fast food diet and inactivity of children growing all over the world, the children enrolled at Manchester United Soccer School (MUSS), are being given lessons on diet and nutrition in addition to technical soccer skills.
The coaches at the school hope the curriculum will help children foster an appreciation for good health.
“The kids are usually surprised when we talk about nutrition and fitness, but it’s a really important part of the game,” said Chris Rosimus, a qualified nutritionist and MUSS coach in Abu Dhabi.
“Professional players learn about diet and training really early on in their careers and we want to use the Manchester United team as role models to motivate the children towards a healthier lifestyle. Our goal is that students should apply the health advice in their everyday live so that they can have an overall healthy lifestyle and excel in the sport.”
The first nutrition session discussed the importance of hydration. The children were encouraged to think about what kind of drink they should consume before, during and after a football match.
After the session, many parents said that their children chose water over canned drinks in a bid to improve their health and ability.
“In football, health is just as important as learning how to deliver a crisp pass or a winning shot, and in terms of quality of life and longevity it’s even more significant,” said Rosimus.
A decline in the intake of calcium among school children is a matter of concern for both parents and teachers.
Teachers opine that calcium is important during early adolescence, when more mineral is needed during a three to four year period when bone growth is at peak and 40 per cent of total bone mass is accumulated.
Moreover, calcium strengthens bones and teeth and regulates muscle functioning, such as contraction and relaxation.
“The junk food children consume today releases so much energy in them that they find it difficult to pay attention to the studies in the classroom,” Leila added.
While Thadhani, a marketing researcher, with three young school-going children said that many school students’ food contains junk food.
“Children from grade one onwards are bombarded with fast food and cola advertisements. They should be given protein and calcium rich food instead of fast food and colas for strong bones and general health”.