A country’s ability to reach the expected level of civilization socially and economically depends on the existence of physically and mentally strong, healthy and talented individuals. Having adequate and balanced nutrition for children and young people, who make up the majority of the population of Turkey, is a prerequisite for them to be healthy and productive individuals in the future. The personality of the child is shaped especially in the pre-school period, and the acquisition of habits that will be effective on his adult behavior is based on these years. Due to the rapid growth and development of preschool children, the need for many nutrients is higher than in other periods of their life. For this reason, it is very important to acquire well-developed eating habits as well as adequate and balanced nutrition in this period. The healthy eating habits that the child gains at this age affect the next periods of his life and constitute the main solution to prevent nutritional problems that may arise in the future. Because healthy nutrition plays an important role in the physical, social and emotional development and behavior of the child.
The pre-school period, which includes children between the ages of one and six, is also called the “game child” period. In this period, from the first age, the child gradually begins to gain independence, and the child becomes an individual that begins to change in the family. In this period of countless development and change, the child’s eating habits are also directly or indirectly affected by the nutritional habits of the family, especially the parents.
During the playboy period, the child is subject to the foods offered to him in terms of nutrition. Parents and caregivers, if any, should know that their food habits, likes and dislikes will be imitated by the child. The insistence of the parents to feed, the attitudes emphasizing the eating process such as rewarding and punishing negatively affect the child’s eating habits. Children’s food consumption changes daily, and it is characteristic of this age group that they eat less on some days and more on some days. However, the child should be accustomed to a regular nutrition program by taking measures such as giving his meals at a certain time and not allowing foods such as biscuits, crackers, bagels, cola, and chocolate to be eaten as snacks outside of meals.
Protein-energy malnutrition, vitamin D insufficiency, anemia, various vitamin deficiencies, simple goiter and common dental caries are among the important health problems seen in preschool children in Turkey. In addition, in recent years, obesity (obesity) in preschool and school age children has become a rapidly increasing problem in Turkey as well as all over the world, due to rapid changes in lifestyle and eating habits. Since the nutrition of the preschool child group is completely dependent on others, overeating, ie obesity, seen in this age group is mostly the fault of parents and caregivers. With the increase in energy consumption, this energy consumed in excess is stored in the body as fat and manifests itself with excessive weight gain.