However, helping children grow physically, emotionally and intellectually cannot be achieved without the proper nutrition, through balanced and healthy meals. It is an undisputed fact that proper nutrition is a significant factor in the growth, development and overall functioning of a child. Good nutrition provides the energy and nutrients essential to sustain life and promote physical, social, emotional and cognitive development. Also, good nutrition is critical to optimizing each child's potential for success. Therefore, meeting children's nutritional requirements throughout the childhood years is essential to full intellectual and emotional development.
Infant years is perhaps, the most challenging and crucial part of human existence, however, due to the increasing demands of modernisation, parents are often incapacitated in providing the parental care and attention their children requires at this crucial period. Childcare or day nurseries therefore constitute the only alternative.
Unfortunately, with the increasing commercialisation of the child care business and the increasing profit orientation, there are increasing concerns about the type and quality of care provided for children in these centres. Gone are those days when caring for the children was out of passion, today's child care centres are in it for the profit. This realisation calls for a critical look at the quality of care that children in these centres receive. Since proper and healthy meals and by extension good nutrition is a vital aspect of a child growth and development, this study intends to look into the nutritional values of meals provided to children between 3-5yrs old in child care centres.
Objectives of Study
The objective of this study is to look into the quality of care provided to children 3-5yrs old in day care centres with the intention of assessing
The quality of meals the children receive
The nutritional value of the meals the children receive, the primary interest shall include energy content, fat, salt content etc., portion or sizes of the meal, types of food, fresh, cooked, fried or processed.
The difference between children receiving poor nutritional meals and those receiving good nutritional meals, as represented by prevalence of food allergies, obesity and other health conditions.
Thus, the importance of good nutrition in the development and growth of children within this age bracket
The nutritional value of meals provided for children 3-5yrs old in day care centres, though, varies from one nursery to the other, largely depends on the size of the centre, the number of children been handled and whether the centre is for-profit or non-profit. Small centres with less number of children and non-profit nurseries are more likely to provide healthy, qualitative and nutritional meals for their children compared to large centres, with large population of children and for-profit centres.
The importance of good nutrition via healthy and qualitative meals and snacks to the growth and development of children has been the subject of several studies and literatures. The development of