Parents across the region are wondering if they have made their lives harder by the dinner and lunch choices they are making with research showing some of the chemicals put into everyday foods and drinks can cause temper tantrums, sleep disturbance and disruptive behaviour.
Australia has one of the highest rates of asthma in the world, yet Australians unwittingly consume 5kg of food additives each year, and more than 60 food additives known to trigger or exacerbate asthma attacks in sufferers.
In July 2012 the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics reported one quarter of the children who attended outpatients clinics at Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne were there for behavioural or learning problems rather than health problems.
Parents stumped by their children’s health and behaviour were looking at what their kids ate.
This is the focus of an upcoming seminar on Wednesday September 10 at the Nyngan Town Hall that members of the Nyngan Child and Family Support Group are helping to organise. The seminar will commence at 7pm and be presented by Louise D’Allura.
Nyngan Preschool director Chantelle Finlay said Ms D’Allura was the eastern states’ Additive Alert Community talks presenter so to have her in Nyngan to deliver this seminar was really exciting.
“Louise demystifies what’s really going into our dinners and children’s lunchboxes that can have an impact on our thinking and learning, and she’ll share simple tips to make positive changes” Ms Finlay said.
She was very keen to spread the word.
“Everyday I talk to parents who are overwhelmed and very concerned about the presence of artificial flavours, colours, and preservatives in lunchbox foods,” she said.
“In many cases they have a sneaking suspicion but they don’t know which additives are worth avoiding and why. It is wonderful to be able to have this information come to our doorstep.”
During the two hour seminar Ms D’Allura will help Nyngan mums, dads, grandparents and educators discover which food additives are linked to health, learning and behaviour problems (including asthma and hyperactivity), how to interpret food labels and identify which additives are worth avoiding.
The event will help parents learn more about ‘everyday’ foods that contain food additives linked to hyperactivity and poor learning outcomes for children.
Ms D’Allura loves sharing the story of a mum who came to a talk just before the Easter school holidays. She was given forms to put her son in special support over his disruptive behaviour.
“This mum found there were triggers that would send him into a tantrum and trash his and his sisters room. His mum used to be so scared about his reactions over a simple ‘no’,” she said.
“After coming to the talk she cut most of the questionable additives and he is a changed boy! His mum wasn’t scared to take him out in public during the holidays, and when he got back to school, the teachers commented he was improving. Plus he feels better, can think easier and is making good food choices himself!
“At after school care he gets offered tacos or mac and cheese but refuses - choosing to take a piece of fruit instead. When one of his sisters offers him something he’ll ask, in all seriousness, if it has 160b in it,” Ms D’Allura said.
If you want to learn what to avoid and how, get along to Food for a Happy and Calm Household on Wednesday September 10 (6.30pm for a 7pm start).
Tickets are $5 and bookings are essential. Buy tickets on line at www.Trybooking.com/95161
Tickets can be purchased from: Nyngan Preschool, 11 Pangee Street, Nyngan Ph: 6832 1460; Home-Start Western Area Inc - 50 Cobar Street, Nyngan Ph: 6832 1905; Bogan Bush Mobile - 20 Dandaloo Street, Nyngan Ph: 6832 1932
Everyone gets a handy Additives to Avoid wallet card!
For further information on how families can avoid additives in their school lunches contact Louise D’Allura on phone 0408 723 559.