On April 7, the third years of primary school “Mariano-Fermi” d’Andria met online the Dr Raffaella Gadaleta, AIRC Researcher at the end of the Project “The mystery of the healthy dish”; on April 8, it was the turn of the second classes of Fermi high school to dialogue with the nutritionist Professor Fabio Sellitri, to talk about the importance, if not the essential, of a healthy and balanced diet for the prevention of disease and physical and mental well-being. It was an opportunity for a conscious and constructive discussion, which made the students curious and involved.
In the afternoon, a new meeting with the parents, introduced by Director of the Roberto Crescini school The “World Health Day” is called “Save the Earth”, the theme is the fight against pollution for a healthier world and the reduction of cancers, heart and respiratory diseases.
the teacher. Fabio Sellitri he presented the diet as a way of life and not as weight loss. At school age, nutritional errors are numerous: excess calories in relation to total daily energy expenditure, absent or insufficient breakfast, low intake of fibre, vegetable protein and fish; habit of eating meals in front of the TV with difficulty controlling the amount of food ingested, sedentary lifestyle.
It is good to have snacks and snacks, which are not too rich so as not to arrive with a small appetite for lunch and dinner. Proposals have been made for the different meals of the day, paying attention to the cheese which is not an accompaniment, so it should not be associated with meat or fish. Legumes, vegetables, fruits are also recommended four times a day. The myth of eating fruit between meals dispelled.
Also illustrated is the approach of the unappetizing child, which requires a lot of patience, to allow the child to gradually accept certain tastes and flavors.
The cardiologist dr. Paul Pollice addressed the role of the cardiovascular system and modifiable and non-modifiable cardiovascular risk factors. High blood pressure, diabetes mellitus produced by high blood sugar, dyslipidemia, excess weight (obesity) and smoking are modifiable. It is important not to smoke both for yourself and for those around you (passive smoking). Non-modifiable risk factors are familiarity and advanced age. Cardiovascular risk factors are directly responsible for cardiovascular diseases such as ischemic heart disease in its various forms (acute myocardial infarction) and cerebrovascular diseases (ischemic stroke).
Arriving at pediatric age, it is necessary to consider that the child of today is the adult of tomorrow, it is therefore good to prevent with an adapted diet: avoid excess food, sweets, fruit juices, fatty condiments and sauces and exposure to cigarette smoke; encourage the consumption of cooked and raw vegetables, control the level of vitamin D, increase the time devoted to aerobic physical activity.
Childhood obesity is a serious and real problem, due to the accumulation of fat in the liver, an increase in circulating insulin, an increase in cholesterol, an increase in blood pressure, orthopedic and psychological problems.
The crucial age is puberty: a child who reaches the overweight developmental age is likely to develop obesity in adulthood.
The dentist dr. Vito Abbrescia spoke about the prevention of cavities which is the most widespread pathology in the world, at the age of 12 44% of the Italian population suffers from it. It is therefore necessary to ensure the health of children from the start of pregnancy to avoid the vertical transmission of pathogens from the pregnant woman. In the first months, it is important to use the bottle correctly, then as the child grows, it is necessary to teach him how to remove plaque effectively.
Dietary risk factors lead to dental erosion favored by cariogenic foods with high sugar content (sweets, candies etc.) and beverages such as cola, sports drinks, wine, beer etc.
On the other hand, there are anticariogenic foods: blueberries, apples, green tea and foods rich in polyphenols. Among the good habits are to favor the sweeteners erythritol and xylitol, the use of fluoride-based mouthwashes and – why not – bring the bag to school with a toothbrush and toothpaste.
The quality of saliva also affects the development of tooth decay.
Finally the ophthalmologist dr. Domenico Di Pilato drew attention to the prevention of visual problems in the pediatric age, focusing on hyperopia, myopia and astigmatism. A check-up is recommended from the age of three years because the child is often not aware of the visual problem, for example farsightedness is not immediately recognizable unlike myopia. Also address lazy eye and strabismus problems. It is therefore necessary to remedy visual defects to avoid vision in a stressful situation: the child gets tired of reading and learning is slowed down.
Many questions were asked in the final part by the participants. This comes from a time when prevention was overlooked because of COVID-19. It’s time to get back to regular prevention.