Nearly 150 million children under five years are stunted, and 50 million have low weight for height, the health experts said that it is due to nutritional gaps that remain common and occur when toddlers don’t get adequate nutrients for growth and development.
Dr Irfan Sheikh, Head Pediatric Nutrition, Scientific and Medical Affairs for Abbott’s nutrition business in India said “Without proper nutrition, growth faltering or even stunted growth can occur, leading to illness and cognitive development issues that can have consequences later in life for children. Addressing the nutritional gaps in those at risk early can help them reach their full growth potential”“The height a child achieves in adulthood is a summary of processes carried out at the growth plate of long bones. Meanwhile, genetic factors such as parental height is an important determinant of a child’s height, but environmental factors, such as nutrition, especially in early childhood, can also affect bone growth,” he added.
The health experts said that a growing child’s wholesome diet should ideally include all the five food groups such as dairy for calcium, fruits for vitamins, cereals for carbohydrates, meats and nuts for proteins, and vegetables for minerals.
Dr Robert Murray, Professor of Pediatrics, Pediatric GI and Nutrition, Ohio State University said that to ensure children eat right, parents, and caregivers must incorporate anchor foods in their diet. If a child eats one of each of these foods, then a parent can be reassured that they are getting adequate nutrition.
“Parents and caregivers should continually assess their child’s growth and speak with a healthcare professional if they believe their child is falling behind. If nutrition intervention is needed, parents can help by making nutritious foods more available to their children. For children who have trouble getting the right nutrition through food alone, nutritional supplements can help,” said Dr Robert.