Introduction

  • For a healthy diet, sufficient and balanced intake of all nutrients (carbohydrate, fat, protein, etc.) from various foods (milk, meat, bread, etc.) is required.
  • Each food is rich in different nutrients. For this reason, meals should consist of foods from different groups. Thus, energy, vitamin, and mineral requirements of the body can be met in a balanced way.
  • Lifelong healthy eating habits help prevent non-communicable diseases (NCDs) as well as conditions that may occur due to malnutrition.
  • However, the increase in processed food production, rapid urbanization, and lifestyle changes have also lead to negative consequences in eating habits. The consumption of foods high in trans fat, salt, and sugar has increased. This has brought along many health problems.
  • Obesity is one of these health problems. Obesity is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to health.”
  • In recent years, multiple factors has lead to an increase in childhood obesity. Some of the main factors are consuming more high-calorie foods, eating more convenience foods, not walking to school and other places, and spending more time in front of television and computers.
  • Healthy nutrition is very important for growth and development as well as it is for school success. Studies have shown that children who have an inadequate and unbalanced diet have shorter attention spans, have difficulty in learning, and develop behavioral disorders.
  • Gaining healthy eating habits, especially in childhood, is one of the most important determinants of childhood health. Studies show that the eating habits acquired in childhood continue into adulthood and bad eating habits may cause health problems in adulthood.
  • The awareness of healthy eating during the pre-school period will affect the food choices of school-age children in the school canteen and cafeteria, and it will become a habit rather than a temporary behavior.