I saw a 10-year-old boy today who was very small for his age and looked quite malnourished. He had also been diagnosed with ADHD. His Mum told me his history. He had seen the Pediatrician and the dietitian and great efforts had been made to help him put on weight. As Mum and Dad worked long hours he had to go to school early in the morning, and he had all his meals at school.
Two problems emerged from our conversation
- The dietitian was trying to help him put on weight by suggesting his mum fed him junk food such as biscuits. Mum rightly thought this was not a great idea. Not everyone gains weight with junk food and biscuits are not great food for brain or body development.
- His 3 school meals sounded as if they would be deficient in protein and fat, so much so that I am planning a meeting with the head teacher. This would not make too much difference if he had 2 good nutritious meals at home each day, but as he had all 3 meals at school it did make a difference. His mum told me that breakfast would consist of a breakfast bar or toast, cereal or porridge. And evening meal would be hot dog sandwiches or toasted sandwiches. I am hoping the menu described is not a true reflection of what is served to the children. Children need protein and fat food to grow, and to concentrate- meat, fish, eggs, and cheese would be a start.
I have arranged blood tests for iron studies, B12 and folic acid and full blood count as I feel he may well be deficient and this will also adversely affect his behavior.