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Clinical Nutrition Specialist at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) Fatima Suikai said that fasting for children under puberty depends on the physical structure and health status of the child.
Fatima Suikai explained, in a statement to Qatar News Agency (QNA), that children's ability to fast varies according to many factors, including the child's structure, health condition and climatic weather, which necessitates adult observation over fasting for pre-puberty children She advised that the fasting of children under the age of puberty be for half the day only to ensure that their health is not affected during the fasting period.
Suikai added that the best way to eat breakfast for a fasting child is gradually and not to let them eat the meal at once in order to avoid intestinal disorders, stressing the importance of introducing nutrients and fluids.
She also underlined the need for parents to pay attention to any signs of significant decrease in the sugar level or dehydration, saying that in such a case the child must break the fast immediately. She called for the need for medical supervision by a specialist doctor and nutritionist if children with diabetes are allowed to fast, as their sugar levels may drop to dangerous levels. As for children who are obese or overweight, fasting is an opportunity for them to adjust their diet, she added.
It is necessary to provide the fasting children with a balanced breakfast that contains carbohydrates, proteins, and non-harmful fats, as well as fruits and vegetables to obtain the necessary needs of vitamins and minerals to give the them all nutritional needs, Fatima Suikai said pointing that the "Suhoor" meal should contain fibers that help to feel full for longer periods.
At the end of her statement to (QNA), Fatima Suikai stressed that the Suhoor meal should contain milk and dairy products to provide the children with the basic needs of calcium, adding that fried foods and sweets should be limited, and drinks containing caffeine such as tea, coffee and soft drinks should be avoided. (QNA)