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The Role Grandmothers Play In Mother And Child Nutrition And Health

The Role Grandmothers Play In Mother And Child Nutrition And Health

Last week I went out to dinner with my wife and some friends. It was a Greek restaurant that was run by the community. Everyone helped out from preparing to serving the food. We struck up a long conversation with the waitress who was volunteering her time. She had been in financial difficulty some 16 years earlier when the community offered her support. She was now giving back as a volunteer.

This prompted our conversation of how in Australia we have become somewhat detached from our own community. Whilst mateship has been an important part of our culture, has this becom a token phrase. Do we respect our elders and extended family?

Whilst my experience at the restaurant may not seem relevant to your health or nutrition, there were a number of lesson we can learn.Respect for our elders and in particular the grandmother’s in helping our kids learn about good nutrition. This has recently been highlighted in a new study.

The key finding of an extensive review published in the January issue of Maternal and Child Nutrition highlights this point. Community health specialist Dr Judi Aubel reviewed literature covering 60 different cultural contexts in 35 Asian, African and Latin American countries between 1995 and 2010.

What she found was a key role grandmothers play in teaching our kids how to choose healthy food and look after their health.

In Western Cultures very few extended families exist and we have lost the respect for the important role grandparents in general play. I know my kids have benefited immensely from the input of their grandparents. My son Zac’s exceptional reading is a direct result of his grandmothers help.

Reference : The role and influence of grandmothers on child nutrition: culturally designated advisors and caregivers. Aubel J. Maternal and Child Nutrition. 8, pp. 19 (2012).

29 Feb 2012

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