Sri Ramakrishna Hospital: From Malnutrition to Milestones – Understanding the Effects of Nutritional Deficiency on Child Development

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Sri Ramakrishna Hospital‘s expert pediatricians give an in depth explanation about the nutritional deficiency in children and how it impacts a child’s well-being. Along with providing various tips to encourage healthy eating in children to balance the nutrients.

Sri Ramakrishna Hospital, Coimbatore

Nutritional deficiency happens when the body can’t take or get enough of the nutrients it needs from the food one eats. It is even more important for the child to eat a healthy, balanced and growth-induced diet to help in achieving the milestones and also reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases.

According to recent studies and reports, nutritional deficiency has reached alarming levels, with millions of children worldwide suffering from inadequate access to essential nutrients. This crisis is not limited to underdeveloped regions but extends to many communities across the globe, including developed countries due to excessive consumption of junk and unbalanced meals.

The consequences of this silent epidemic are far reaching, affecting children’s growth, cognitive development, immune system, and overall health.

Understanding the major signs of nutritional deficiency in children:

Surprisingly, some kids who arent getting enough nutrients can still look fine, and it can be hard for their parents to tell. If we dont know the signs and symptoms, its hard to tell if a child isnt getting enough of something. Here are the major signs that help the parents identify nutritional deficiency in children,

Being overweight or obese/underweight

Low energy levels

Constipation or changes in bowel movements

Tooth decay

Poor physical growth

Being pale or lethargic

In few children poor nutrition can cause:

Behavioral problems

Sleep issues

Poor concentration or troubles in school

Understanding the various tips to encourage children to eat healthy

Usually parents of children who are at the age of 5 worry about their children not reaching their milestones. And they usually reach out to doctors to increase their appetite with medications, but unfortunately there is no definite medication or treatment.

In India most households provide roti or rice as a staple food which is a carbohydrate. Carbohydrates which are converted to instant energy, which suppresses a child’s appetite. Without sufficient protein, muscle building is not achieved. And without enough fiber constipation may follow. Here are the tips:

Not enough fruits and vegetables: Aim for four serves of grains, four serves of vegetables, and two serves of fruits.

Giving the child excess fluid: When milk, fruit juices, or smoothies are consumed often or before a meal, they can make the child feel full and bloated, making the child lose their hunger.

Limit the over consumption of snacks, snacks without timely breaks can lead to skipped meals. Encourage the child to eat healthy snacks like fruits as this digests faster and include millets in the diet once every week.

Include foods like chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds as they are filled with micronutrients.

Let the children explore their food as it helps build their sensory and motor skills. The child should also be given finger foods.

Takeaway is good, but home-cooked food is better. Theyre also simple. But takeaway foods are not healthy and most of them on the menu can be prepared at home, where one can control what goes into it.

Dont bribe: Dont use food to get kids to do what the parents want. Nor should parents use it to give the child a prize.

Portion sizes: Dont feed the child too much, and pay attention when they say theyre full. Dont make them eat everything on the plate and wipe it clean.

Encourage the child to eat more microbiota foods like ajwain, dairy, and vitamin B1 foods like legumes, beans, yogurt as these help in improving gut bacteria and maintain a good gut health.

Picky eaters: Try to get the picky eater to try more kinds of food and involve them planning their meals.

And the most important tip that parents need to ensure is maintaining a proper diet habit like following a routine and reinforcing the same without losing patience.

The expert pediatricians at Sri Ramakrishna Hospital advise parents to ensure they eat in a healthy manner filling their portion with all the required nutrients for their growth and development. A healthy child depicts a healthy society. Children are the future of the country, hence their health is important and it’s our responsibility to keep them away from non-communicable diseases like cardiac disorders, stroke,obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and many more.

About Sri Ramakrishna Hospital

Sri Ramakrishna Hospital has attained an iconic reputation since its inception in 1975. Situated in the heart of Coimbatore city, this hospital has in many ways became a part of medical history. In fact, it has been an integral part of the healthcare revolution of modern India. Established and run by the SNR Sons Trust, Sri Ramakrishna Hospital treats several lakhs of patients each year. From providing the most advanced medical procedures to treatments for everyday ailments, they bring relief to patients from all walks of life using state-of-the-art technology and cutting-edge surgical and medical techniques to deliver outstanding results.

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