Mealtimes are best for family bonding: Expert - GulfToday

Mealtimes are best for family bonding: Expert


Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

It may be arduous, due to stress, busy-ness, and personal as well as inter-personal issues, but a specialist paediatrician in Dubai has suggested that meals are the most appropriate time to get to know and spend time with children.

The idea came about when Gulf Today interviewed Dr. Noobi Koya of the Canadian Specialist Hospital on Sunday in relation to the opening of the academic year 2019-2020 in approximately two weeks.

A question raised was on the components a home, family and school must bear to ensure that children will grow up to be healthy, happy, secure and productive individuals which are the aspiration of every parent and society. Another question was the challenges she has observed being a paediatrician in the UAE since 2007.

To both, Koya reiterated the significance of open communication between and among family members as she also pointed out what the medical community as well as academicians have been stressing that health stems from within the environs of families and homes.

She said: “There are a lot of challenges for a paediatrician based in Dubai. In a city where both parents are working and the children are left alone on their own, the parents need to make an extra effort to make sure they are aware (of) what is going on in their child’s life. They need to communicate with the children and talk to them about their day and interests. One of the more important aspects the diet of the children as most are hooked on to fastfood and junk food, and are consuming fizzy sugary sodas instead of water. All these need to be addressed.”

“It is very imperative for the home atmosphere to be healthy and happy for the positive upbringing of the child,” Koya also said.

She stressed that giving time for children to discuss their issues are a big help, specifically among the adolescents who have to have the proper guidance to all the momentary physical, psychological and emotional rollercoasters they go through and which they ought to control and overcome.

“Mealtimes are the best opportunity for the family to spend some time together and discuss regular school and extra-curricular activities. Healthy eating habits need to start at home. The time for children with their gadgets must be well-monitored and restricted.”

Koya said parents must be well-versed on the vaccination and immunisation of each of their children—at whatever stage or age they are in.

She added parents of teenagers must make it a point to speak with them more often than not, not only to be aware of whom they hang out with, “their children’s friends’ circle; but, more importantly, “about the perils of cigarettes, alcohol and recreational drugs.”

In relation to this, from the Aug. 3, 2019 community forum of the Dubai Police in coordination with the Philippine Consulate General for the over 300,000 Filipinos in Dubai and also attended by those from the Northern Emirates, Smart Police Stations official 2nd Lt. Khalid Mohammad Al Nasser raised the warning of “medications” that have been found by authorities as health hazards and which have been accessible even to university students by way of imported parcels.

In that community forum, Dubai Police-Anti-Narcotics Department/Hemaya officer Sgt. Musa Guled who had said that illegal drugs awareness campaigns in all educational institutions should be further boosted, also stated: “We can only know and protect our children if we (never fail) communicating with them.”

Meanwhile, Koya said inside a healthy lunchbox for school should be “with adequate water to prevent dehydration” without junk foods which include the “fizzy sugary sodas.”

An earlier report said moking and the use of tobacco and related products remain a challenge because of stress and the addictive nature of nicotine.

The conclusion was derived from interviews with Respiratory Medicine specialists or pulmonologists asked to answer this main question: “The World Health Organisation and all public and private stakeholders have been doing their part, some, actively, in the promotion of health and wellness in the past decade or so. May we have your take on why people—including those in the medical and health sectors—still smoke?”

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