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Child Care And Nutrition

Malnourishment, during the early years (within three years of age) of a child’s could retard the rate of mental and physical development. This cannot be made up for when the child is older, it will affect the rest of the child’s life. Children have a right to caring, protective environment, nutritious diet and basic health care to promote growth and development and prevent them from illness.

Malnutrition in children is not caused by food intake alone, but it is also influenced by access to health services, quality of care for the child and pregnant mothers, as well as good hygiene practices.

Malnutrition, just like malnourishment has a long term effects because it impedes motor, sensory, cognitive, social and emotional development. Malnourished children are less likely to perform well in school and are at greater risk of diseases and early death. About one-third of all adult women are underweight resulting from early childhood malnutrition.

Malnutrition in children is also function of mothers. Malnutrition and improper care of the mothers especially during the early stage of pregnancy have a drastic quota to contribute towards child malnutrition. This can result in low-birth-weight. Nearly 30% of all newborns have a low birth weight making them more vulnerable to further malnutrition and diseases.

Feeding is a vital aspect of caring for infants and young children. Appropriate feeding practices stimulate bonding with the caregiver and psychosocial development. It leads to improved nutrition and physical growth, reduced susceptibility to childhood infections and better resistance to cope with them. Improved health outcomes in children have long-lasting health effects, including increased performance and productivity, and reduced risk of certain non-communicable diseases.

Cleanliness of children’s environment, proper care of children, pregnant and nursing mothers, intake of safe and clean water, as well as balanced diet in the right proportion promote healthy growth in children and happy adulthood. Remember good nutrition provides more than energy structural components, vitamins and minerals.

Foods very rich in proteins, vitamins, minerals like calcium, zinc, phosphorus, iodine, iron remain very vital in children’s diet for healthy growth.

Breastfeeding mothers should hence be counselled on the right breastfeeding practices and the importance of providing colostrum within the first half hour after birth, and be advised about other questions they may have about their newborns or postpartum period. Protect children from diseases through promotion of clear guidelines about proper feeding practices and its benefits of immunity. Exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months of a child’s life, with appropriate complementary feeding from six months, and continued breastfeeding for more than one year with foods rich in micronutrients and vitamins is very essential.

It’s noteworthy that, children are God’s gracious gifts meant to be their parents’ pride and future leaders. They have right to a healthy living. Be concerned!!!

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