Proper nutrition or balanced nutrition is essential for a child’s proper mental and physical development. When your child becomes a picky eater or is not eating well, you might just want to let him be or allow him to feed on some sweet things he prefers, but this isn’t a healthy choice for him because this could lead him to become malnourished. Malnutrition would lead to infections and reinfections, weight loss, and low volume of blood in the body.
What is Malnutrition?
Malnutrition is a state of the body not getting adequate quantity or needed amount of essential vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates and lipids required for the body’s function, survival, and to maintain healthy tissues and organs.
Because malnutrition is not a disease that comes with fever and cold, you might not realize it quickly. These are malnutrition symptoms you should look out for before it gets really bad.
Your baby is always complaining of stomach aches and not eating well because of it:
Frequent stomach ache in your toddler could mean several things, including an infection. But if your child is not eating because of it, it only means he isn’t well-nourished. The stomach ache could also be a symptom of malnutrition. Talk to your doctor about that complaint that is already going for more than a week.
Underweight or losing weight:
There is an average weight required for children. If you notice your child is falling back on the chart or is suddenly losing weight, you should talk to your doctor for proper evaluation. Not eating properly or a balanced diet could cause it.
Your child is not eating well:
I have learned that this should be a concern if a child isn’t feeding well. My son only ate little of the food he took to school, and sometimes he wouldn’t touch the meat. At home, he would only want to take liquids. When he asked for food, and I served him, he only picked at it. Until we ended up being admitted to the hospital twice in a month and the doctors said his blood was below minimum, did I realize why he wasn’t eating well? When you notice your child is having trouble eating, get him to see the doctors, some multivitamins might help him back on the food track.
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Your child isn’t growing taller:
Children experience growth spurt from time to time. Children are continually growing taller. If you notice your child is not outgrowing his or her clothes then, you should see a doctor for proper evaluation.
Not as active or agile:
Children are active and burn their calories differently. If your toddler who is usually engaged, playful and cheerful begins to withdraw, is less active, slow, and begins to sleep more than usual and you can’t notice any visible illness, this becomes a source of concern. Take your child for proper evaluation. Many times it is an indication of malnutrition.
Edema occurs in children with acute malnutrition. It is a condition where there is water retention in the tissues of a person and, in this context, in the tissues of a malnourished baby. When you notice this, you should take your baby to the hospital without delay. The doctor is most likely going to admit the baby for some days to monitor the progress of your baby and to make sure the baby is stable and safe.
Causes of Malnutrition
Children from 6 months to 59 months can experience malnourishment. There are various causes of malnutrition that affect children. We will discuss some below.
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Lack of breastfeeding:
Babies derive all their nutrients and protection from their mother’s breastmilk within the first six months of life. Babies who are unable to breastfeed for any reason can become malnourished.
Digestive disorders like Crohn’s disease prevent the body from absorbing nutrients from food consumed leads to malnutrition. Frequent diarrhea and vomiting as a result of digestion problems can also lead to malnutrition.
It is possible to have problems with your baby’s feeding habits. Either they are not eating well, being a picky eater, or eating at odd times, which can lead to indigestion. When a child doesn’t feed well, the likelihood of experiencing malnutrition is high.
A poor or unbalanced diet:
If you stick to one meal and you don’t balance it with vegetables, fruit, and sources of protein, you will be increasing your child’s chances of being malnourished.
Illness can cause a child to lose appetite and desire for food. Worm infestation can cause a child not to eat. As said earlier, not feeding well will lead to malnutrition. Chronic and long-term illness and treatment processes can affect the nutrition of a child.
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How to treat malnutrition in children
Discover the root cause of malnutrition before adequate treatment can commence. Take your child to see the doctor so that the proper treatment plan can be administered.
- If there is an underlying sickness or disease, it is treated to enable the appetite of your child to return.
- Ensure every of your child’s meal has all the classes of food.
- Take time to prepare your child’s diet. If your child is a picky eater then take time to find out what he likes, make your child a variety of food.
- Breastfeeding is an excellent place to start if your child is nursing. If they aren’t feeding directly from the breast, then you should express your milk into a bottle for your child.
- Monitor what you eat that could be putting your baby off breastfeeding
- For children that have difficulty feeding, the hospital put in place measures to help the child feed properly.
- The doctor can prescribe multivitamins to enhance your child’s appetite and give him some nutrients
- Include vegetables and fruits into your child’s meal plan.
- Deworm the child if the child is suffering from worm infestation. It is advisable to deworm a child every three to six months.
- Help your child take lots of water.
Classes of food: Carbohydrate, protein, fats and lipids, vitamins, minerals and water