Proper nutrition is very vital in the life of a child. A child's body needs quality diets because research suggests that growth continues at a steady rate during childhood. During this period, kids need a sufficient supply of nutrients to increase their lean body mass and body size. Kids also needs sufficient energy, protein, and other nutrients to maintain their body functions. You must have noticed that kids perform differently. While some children perform brilliantly in school, some others perform poorly. Similarly, some children are more physically active than others. Good food has been found to affect the mental, social, physical and behavioural development of toddlers.
Sadly, many children still eat a poor diet which affects their health. New generation kids often prefer foods with excess fats, sugars and salt while the intake of vitamins and minerals is compromised. Besides, it has been discovered that inadequate nutrition also lowers a child resistance to infectious disease. Parents must realize that some of the diet-related chronic diseases that some adults face today result from poor nutrition during childhood. The first to raising healthy kids is to guide your child's eating with healthy food choices. Below are some health problems children face due to poor nutrition.
Effects of Poor Nutrition on Children
1.Weak Bone and Stunted Growth
The rate at which a young child consume nutrients are is very high. This is why they grow very fast at their tender age. Children depend on adequate nutrients to form strong bones and teeth. They also need nutrients like essential fatty acids to enhance their vision and brain development. For instance, Vitamin A deficiency impairs growth, vision and immunity in children. Zinc deficiency also causes poor growth and exposes children to infectious diseases. Toddlers who lack Calcium and vitamin D in their diets can have rickets. Children with vitamin D deficiency are at greater risk for stunted growth and weak bone formation. Therefore, kids who do not have the right quantity of essential nutrients in their meals suffer from poor growth.
The pain of untreated tooth decay can lead to serious problems among kids. It can cause difficulty in eating, speaking, and responding to learning. Nowadays, many children have unhealthy snacking habits. They prefer starch-containing snacks, which contribute to tooth decay. In addition, these processed foods contain high sugar and sweeteners, which affect the teeth. Some of these snacks include wafers, chocolate and candy with high fats and sugar. Studies also suggest that too many soft drinks, sports drinks, and fruit juices cause tooth erosion. This is because these drinks have acidic content. Thus frequent intake of acidic foods and beverages weakens the tooth and exposes it to tooth decay. Parents are therefore advised to practice proper dental care for their children. This begins with discouraging the intake of snacks with too much sugar and fats. Secondly, parents should buy quality toothpaste and teach kids to brush their teeth thoroughly.
Childhood obesity has been increasing steadily, particularly in the last 20 years. Obesity is caused when children consume high intake of nutritionally poor foods for a long period. It is a serious condition that can lead to serious diseases like cancer, hypertension and type 2 diabetes. Most children with obesity also struggle with breathing problems such as asthma. If you have an obese child, your child needs proper attention and dietary changes. It is advised that you work with a professional child's doctor to ensure that your child is getting the best medical care.
4.Type 2 diabetes
Obesity is the primary cause of type 2 diabetes in children. The reason is that children who are overweight are less physically active and tend to burn less sugar in their bodies. Diabetes during childhood can be dangerous because it increases the risk of stroke, heart attack, and hypertension in adulthood.
5. Impaired Learning Abilities
Eating junk food is not proper for a child brain development. Junk foods contain additives like artificial colours and flavours, preservatives, sugar and bad fats. As a result, they lack vital nutrients needed for brain development. The brain of toddlers develops at a faster rate from the stage of pregnancy. That is why adequate breastfeeding is always advised for toddlers.
Kids also need essential nutrients like omega 3 fatty acids and iron for their brain development. The human brain is majorly composed of fats. Omega 3 fatty acids is a good fat that supports brain formation. Iron is vital in the diet of children. Unfortunately, Iron deficiency is the leading nutritional deficiency in the world. Children with iron deficiency tend to have behavioural and learning problems in school. Thus, kids who lack these nutrients tend to suffer problems like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and difficulty reading and writing.