If you are getting your little ones accustomed to fasting during the holy month, this medical advice is key in ensuring their utmost health.
The health status of children under puberty is a crucial factor in deciding whether youngsters should fast during Ramadan, a specialist at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) said.
Speaking to Qatar’s state news agency (QNA) last week, Fatima Suikai, Clinical Nutrition Specialist at HMC, shared a list of advice that parents should follow as they get their young ones into the habit of fasting.
The HMC expert noted that one must take into account the child’s physical structure, health status and the weather.
Suikai told QNA that a safer option is to get children to fast until midday to better protect their health, enabling parents to gradually get them accustomed to fasting.
During the fasting period, parents must pay close attention to their children’s sugar levels and detect any indicators of dehydration, Suikai added.
Children who show signs of a drop in sugar levels and dehydration must break their fast immediately, especially those with diabetes. She urged parents to consult doctors and nutritionists before they allow diabetic children to partake in the fast.
Meanwhile, fasting is a chance for children who are obese or overweight to adopt a healthier diet, Suikai said.
The HMC health professional added that once a child breaks their fast, they should receive a gradual amount of food rather than completing an entire meal at once for better gut health.
“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 them all nutritional needs,” QNA reported, citing Suikai.
Commenting on Suhoor, the pre-dawn meal, Suikai said that the meal should be rich in calcium with a limited amount of fried food, sugars and caffeine.
Throughout the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn until the sunset.
The month is known to be one of spiritual cleansing, where Muslims learn to become more patient, humble and get into the habit of donating to the less fortunate.
Muslim scholars agree that children who have not hit puberty are not obligated to fast or perform prayers.