Adequate nutrition is fundamental to the growth and development of infants and children. Balanced and healthy diet strengthens your child’s immune system, helps him or her maintain healthy weight, and aids in his or her brain and bone development.
Malnutrition (poor nutrition) is a leading cause of child mortality. About 45% of deaths worldwide are related to malnutrition. India has recorded the highest number of deaths of children under five and 50% of them are linked to malnutrition.Optimal Nutrition is the benefactor of Growth and Development
While you child is in a growing stage (infancy and young childhood) he or she needs appropriate nutrition that enables good health, maximum development and good growth. Infants obtain their nutrition from breast milk, which is a perfect mix of vitamins, protein and fat. It also contains antibodies that help your baby fight viruses and bacteria. In case mothers are unable to produce sufficient breast milk, babies receive nutrition from infant formula, which is also a balanced mix of vital nutrients but lacks in the unique immune factors afforded by breast milk.As the infants progress to early childhood, they require a diet rich in cereals, vegetables, fruits, protein, dairy products and lean meat. Every child has unique nutritional needs and it varies depending on their activity levels. Children grow rapidly till five years and require balanced nutrition that helps them grow to their full potential. They have lots of energy and need breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner to keep them going.
Poor Nutrition is the Cause of Various Childhood Diseases
Children are not always good at choosing balanced meal and mothers are often worried about their children’s diet. The most common queries the pediatricians come across include:
· My child does not eat and is very fussy about food
· My child is so thin. Please give him some tonic
· He is constantly eating, and craving for tasty food
· Only things she likes to eat are chips and chocolates
These complaints actually signal unhealthy dietary habits of your children and may be a cause for common ailments that are found in children. These include:
· Vitamin deficiencies
· Raised Cholesterol level
PCOS (Polycystic ovary syndrome) and orthopedic problems like osteoporosis or rickets and dental problems may also show early signs at this age. Any associated obesity might lead later to osteoarthritis, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, and even schizophrenia and cancer. Poor growth may also result in stunted growth.
Making Intelligent Food Choices Is Important
Nutrition means using food intelligently for growth, nourishment, sustenance and repair of the body. It determines a child’s body size, performance, and wellbeing and helps them achieve long disease free life. If the child does not receive proper nutrition, he or she may suffer from malnutrition.
· Proper nutrition helps develop strong bones, muscles and gives an energy boost
· Ensuring enough vitamins and minerals helps prevent nutritional deficiencies
· Eating fruits and vegetables and limiting junk and sugar rich food helps prevent obesity
· Good nutrition helps your children form and maintain lifelong healthy eating habits
· Following good nutritional practice helps children develop better concentration at school, resulting in better learning
NH Rabindranath Tagore Surgical Centre, Hiland Park offers paediatric nutrition clinic that will help you customize a diet plan for your child. Find out if your child is having proper nutrition and how you can help safeguard your child from malnutrition from our expert guides. Contact 9051776400 for an appointment.
Dr. Mahua Dasgupta
Physician Incharge Paediatric Nutrition Clinic
NH Rabindranath Tagore Surgical Centre, Hiland Park, Kolkata