Don't let kids form habit of eating sugary food

I was appalled to read about a mother feeding her toddler Coke in a baby milk bottle ("Are kids eating too much sweet stuff?"; last Friday).

Early exposure to sugary foods will create eating habits that will be difficult to break as a toddler grows up.

Many paediatricians and books recommend little or no sugar or salt in the first year of life.

Denying our children these does not make us bad parents.

When my children were toddlers, I would order french fries but would ask for no salt.

My family's rules for our children before they turned two were: No sweets or chocolates; fruit juices had to be diluted. The exception was the children's birthday cake.

We cannot shelter our children, but we can be smart parents and keep track of what they eat, and have fun exposing them to a variety of foods to encourage them to discover interesting food.

Sugar consumption can lead not just to health problems, tooth decay and obesity, but also behavioural issues. The child will be hyperactive, have sleep issues and have constant sugar cravings.

I hope parents will be aware of the sugar content in food and beverages, and pick up good eating habits.

Geraldine Chew Chia Ling (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 04, 2016, with the headline 'Don't let kids form habit of eating sugary food'. Print Edition | Subscribe