Dietary Guidelines to Ensure that your Sporty Child reaches the right Height and Weight

Today in our country a lot of importance is being given to sports and parents are willing to encourage children to even pursue various aspects of sports and games as a profession. Children from age 4 or 5 are enrolled in various sports academies or camps from this young age and huge amounts of energy, time and money are spent by both the children and parents. It is indeed wonderful to see God given talent being recognized at a young age and encouraged. It has also paid off and our country today is producing players in cricket, tennis, badminton and athletics, etc. who are truly world class.

I however want to draw attention to one very serious factor that I have noticed. Most young children and specially those engaged in heavy training from a young age are under weight and under height for their age. Girls may stop growing anytime between 12 15 years of age. Boys may grow up to 15 or 16 years of age. What is concerning me is that they are spending so much energy, almost daily, in long durations of exercise, workouts and training and are unable to eat enough to compensate for this as well and eat some more to ensure that the right amount of growth is happening at the right stages.

Parents are so busy getting the children to one session after the other, school, tuition, etc. that they have no patience or energy left to ensure that the child eats enough and in a balanced fashion. Also most mothers are working or busy in other engagements, so feeding is left to the children themselves or house hold help. This can result in a stunted child and adult for life.

Also please note even if the child has a brilliant talent in the final analysis his/her height and body build is crucial in any sport. This is because one who is taller has longer legs and arms and can out beat your child. Also someone who has a big body which is well build with lean muscle mass has much greater energy storing capacity which will enable that player to last longer and play more powerfully than your child.

So all your effort from age 5-15 may become a total waste, if at 15,your son is only 5 feet 3 inches in height and 45 or 50 kgs in weight as compared to his opponent who may be 5 feet 7 inches and 65 kgs in weight.
5 feet 5 inches to 5 feet 7 inches is the average Indian male height. Your son should reach this height by age 15. The ideal weight for this height should be approximately 60-62 kgs for 5 ft 5 inches and approximately 65-67 kgs for 5 feet 7 inches. The average Indian girl is 5 feet 2 inches to 5 feet 4 inches. The weight should be 52-57 kgs.

Some basic principles to be followed are,

  1. Ensure that the child does not go for early morning training on an empty stomach. At least a glass of milk and a banana must be eaten. This should later be followed by a good breakfast.

  2. Ensure that every meal is eaten. Never let a single meal be skipped in a hurry or due to over tiredness.

  3. Every meal must be carbohydrate, protein balanced and consist of large amounts of carbohydrate foods like bread, cereals, rice, chapatti, etc. along with protein foods like milk, egg, cheese, chicken, fish, etc.

  4. Keep fatty foods like fried food, sweets and ghee and butter to a minimum.

  5. Ensure that the child drinks one litre milk daily and also plenty of water (2-4 liters).

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