3 Important Macronutrients for Children

Childhood obesity and malnutrition are a World Wide problem.

According to World Health Organization, “In 2020, globally, 149.2 million children under the age of 5 years of age were stunted, 45.4 million wasted, and 38.9 million overweight.”

To help combat childhood obesity and malnutrition, helping children have access to three macronutrients – carbohydrates, fats, and proteins – can make it easier for children to get the nutrients they require for optimal overall health and growth.

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Complex Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are needed for energy, and there are two types of carbohydrates: complex and refined.

It is best to avoid refined carbohydrates (ex: French fries, sodas, and candy) as much as possible. Complex carbohydrates, brown rice, vegetables, oatmeal, potatoes, and beans are preferred.


Fats are needed to house vitamins (A, D, E & K), and healthy fats promote positive brain development and function. Making sure children eat the right fat is vital. The ideal fats are Monosaturated, Polysaturated, and Omega 3 fatty acids. Children can get these healthy fats from seafood (ex: fish, shrimp, etc.)


Protein is essential for building healthy muscle and ligaments. Protein can come from beans (and beans doubles as a complex carb and protein!) and meat (ex: chicken, pork, etc.).

Making sure children have the basic macronutrient needs can equip children for overall health! 🙏🏽🙏🏻🙏🏼


Arsenault JE, Brown KH. Effects of protein or amino-acid supplementation on the physical growth of young children in low-income countries. Nutr Rev. 2017 Sep 1;75(9):699-717. doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nux027. PMID: 28938793; PMCID: PMC5914345.

Dalton A, Wolmarans P, Witthuhn RC, van Stuijvenberg ME, Swanevelder SA, Smuts CM. A randomised control trial in schoolchildren showed improvement in cognitive function after consuming a bread spread, containing fish flour from a marine source. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2009 Feb-Mar;80(2-3):143-9. doi: 10.1016/j.plefa.2008.12.006. Epub 2009 Feb 6. PMID: 19201180.

Departmental News. The UNICEF/WHO/WB joint child malnutrition estimates (JME) group released new data for 2021. World Health Organization. World Health Organization; 2021 [cited 2021Oct2]. Available from: https://www.who.int/news/item/06-05-2021-the-unicef-who-wb-joint-child-malnutrition-estimates-group-released-new-data-for-2021