One of the most worrying things for parents is their children's growth. They do everything to ensure their child reaches their potential. In a time, when height and looks play crucial role not only one's personal lives but also in professional lives, they are not in the wrong either.
In our country, according to recent statistics over 30% of the children are lacking in terms of height and weight. This is not surprising given the degradation of the quality of food. Also, fast food has replaced many of the nutritious and home cooked recipes. This has had a direct effect on daily nutrition. Moreover, since kids have more intensive nutrition requirements, it affects them much more severely.
In consequence, children are falling behind. This effect is so pronounced that it has a term called stunting. The definition of stunting according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) is for the "height for age" value to be less than two standard deviations of the WHO Child Growth Standards median. Height for age is the expected height of the child for that specific age. This depends on the region and the genealogy of the child. Stunting is the primary manifestation of malnutrition. In this children reach significantly lower stature than their potential. Height is just one aspect of this. This is an indication of many severe problems like delayed mental development, greater risk to illnesses, lower immunity etc. This is also a contributor to many permanent defects.
Hence, it is of great importance to catch up on lost growth. Growth in terms of height can be an indicator of malnutrition. It is a sign parents must look to gauge their child’s development. Stunted growth could also lead to weaker organs and lower immunity. And that is a non-reversible effect. Once a child reaches maturity, there is no catching up on growth.
What can you do to catch up on lost growth?
- - First and foremost, monitor the child’s growth regularly so that you are aware if there is any problem. Many people realize it too late that their child is lacking in growth. By then the damage is almost permanent. Hence to avoid that, make sure that what is the expected height for age for your child and what is his growth rate. Also, weight is an equally important measure. Consult your pediatrician regularly especially for younger children.
- - Raw vegetables. Include leafy vegetables like spinach and lettuce in the form to salads to get their maximum nutrients. When vegetables are cooked, they lose some of their nutritional value. Hence, including raw, uncooked vegetables is important. However, do note that not all vegetables are to be eaten raw like potato etc.
- - Key nutrients like iron, calcium and omega 3 are some of the most likely to be found deficient in children. So, focus on them should be higher. Foods rich in such nutrients should be consumed regularly in appropriate quantities.
- - Whole grains are also very important for good bodily function. Our country is blessed with grains like Ragi, Bajra, Jowar along with wheat and rice. These should be included in the diet to make is balanced.
- - Also, supplements like Horlicks Growth+ can also be included. This is specially designed for pediatric health of children of the ages of 3 to 9. It has protein and added micro nutrients to help children on lost growth.