Nutrition for Young Athletes with an Intellectual Disability
Young athletes with an intellectual disability may be at risk of having inadequate nutrition. If nutrition is left unmanaged, they are at risk for poor health status and future complications like obesity/overweight, vitamin deficiencies, poor growth/development, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Healthy eating in childhood is critical for maintaining overall health as well as a healthy body weight. A foundation of education, physical activity, and a palate for healthy eating will help young athletes develop a healthy lifestyle now and for the future.
Healthy nutrition in childhood can also help to:
- aid in optimizing physical growth, bone development, and maturation.
- increase alertness, energy, and stamina to participate in sport, therapies, educational activities, and social interactions.
- reduce frequency of illnesses.
- improve feeding and coping skills, which increases independence.
In order to maintain a healthy body weight and support optimal development, young athletes should be following Canada’s Food Guide and Health Canada’s Healthy eating recommendations. Nutrition during childhood should stress variety and exposure to new foods and flavours to encourage an adventurous palate.
Is your young athlete’s food intake meeting his or her needs?
- Follow the Canada’s Food Guide plate model and Healthy eating recommendations.
- Go to the activities section for fun and interactive games that focus on achieving daily intake goals.
- Download a free copy of Canada’s Food Guide and print copies of "My Food Guide" servings tracker. Track all foods consumed for a few days and compare to your young athlete’s needs. Canada.ca/foodguide
- Go to www.Canada.ca/FoodGuide/ to download a PDF of the Food Guide Snapshot. This site also offers an online suite of resources including actionable advice, videos and even recipes.
Source: © All rights reserved. Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide. Health Canada, 2007. Modified and reproduced with permission from the Minister of Health, 2016.
Health Canada does not assume any responsibility for any errors or omissions which may result from modifications, revisions, adaptations and / or translation.