What comes to your mind when we talk about growing right? Proper nutrition it is. We all would agree to the fact that the early years of life are the foundation years for a kid from the growth and development perspective. This becomes very crucial, particularly in the toddler age group. There are mainly two factors that basically help in this growth and development which are in our control nurturing environment and the other most important one is providing adequate nutrition.
Nutrition The Word Holds More Meaning Than What You Already Know
Nutrition as we already know is the building block of the human body. There are basically two types of nutrition that we usually talk about Macro nutrition and micro-nutrition. Though we eat every day, nutrition deficiencies are very common, especially among kids. According to the reports it is being estimated that almost around 2 billion people around the world have nutrition deficiencies, and about half of them are in India. On the occasion of National Nutrition Week, we spoke to Dr. Robert Murray, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, Pediatric GI & Nutrition, The Ohio State University, and Dr. Irfan Shaikh, Head Pediatric Nutrition, Scientific & Medical Affairs, Abbott’s Nutrition business on the topic childhood nutrition and its importance.
What Are The Nutritional Requirements of a Child?
The first thing to understand here is growing period doesn’t only talk about the height of the child, it also includes linear growth. Linear growth is the development of muscle mass which is a critical piece of metabolism and organ development for the body. Dr Murray says that as a parent one should consider these nutrients for their child protein, fruits, vegetables, greens, dairy, and whole grains.
What Does An Ideal Plate For Kids Look Like?
An ideal plate for a kid consists of some important One part has to be fruits (this can consist of all types of seasonal fruits), then comes whole grains which will take up the other part of the plate (keep this versatile), then the greens (salads, green leafy vegetables), then the most important section of the plate proteins, and along with this there should be some dairy products as well.
What Can Poor Nutrition Lead To?
Kids who get wasted and stunted tend to have lower muscle mass, lower work capacity, lower cognitive development, do poorly in school, end up getting no job, and live a poor lifestyle due to poverty.And due to all these environmental problems around them, these kids have a higher risk of obesity, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer. This is what happens to a malnourished child.
What Are The Warning Symptoms Of Nutrition Deficiency?
Symptoms of malnutrition are not always seen clearly. Some of them may appear late in adulthood. Some of the common symptoms may include
- Unexplained Fatigue
- No growth height-wise
- Lack of Appetite
“In India, there is a lack of communication between the pediatrician and children, which makes it hard for the parents to find out the problems of malnourishment in children before the symptoms start appearing,” Dr Murray told the HealthSite.
Can Poor Nutrition Affect Social and Emotional Development Also?
Absolutely, poor nutrition can affect the incognitive development of the child. In cognitive development refers to the development of the brain which regulates the functioning of the whole body. There are various wiring inside the brain, poor nutrition can affect these wirings, and can lead to severe health complications. Poor nutrition changes the whole wiring process inside the brain which affects other organs and their functioning.
Poor nutrition can also lead to lower immune function due to the lack of arginine. This nutrient plays a key role in supporting the immune system of the body.
How Can We Combat Malnutrition in Kids?
In India, there is a rising concern about malnourishment in kids and the increasing risk of other ailments. Here are some of the ways one can easily manage this condition:
- Enhance the mid-day meals in schools across India
- Teach your kids about proper nutrition
- Educate the parents about the ideal plate for a child
Are There Any Conditions That May Put a Child At Risk of Poor Nutrition?
Yes, there are some conditions that can put a child at higher risk of poor nutrition, these include Type 2 diabetes, being overweight, being physically inactive, etc.
Make sure to understand that your child doesn’t need massive servings, provide them more and more foods in small quantities. Noting that the importance of proper nutrition in kids is not only important for the child but overall look at it may also show the importance of this in the growth of the whole nation, Dr Murray said, “The role of pediatrician needs to be improved and parents should proactively take part in proving proper nutrition to their kids at the growing and development age.”
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