Parents dream of a healthy, smart and beautiful child from the time they are conceived. After they are born to this world, a mum gives them all her love and feeds her precious one with breast milk. Every mum and dad want to give their child the best of nutritious food. After all, we know the significant impact malnutrition can have on a child.
If a child does not receive the right amount of nutrients from birth up to age 8, this could significantly impact various aspects of his or her life such as behavior, reproductive health and development, education etc. It will therefore ultimately impact their future productivity. Did you know that a child’s development can be significantly impacted during pregnancy and the first two years after being born? Lack of proper nutrients during this time can have long-lasting impacts such as shortness, anaemia, all of which can be easily avoided if the proper focus is given by you to take care of your child with the right nutrients.
Proper nutrition not just benefits your child’s health but also has a significant impact on their ability to learn, communicate, analyse, think, adapt and socialize.
Nutrients impact on a child’s physical development
The first line of defense for your child against harmful and dangerous sicknesses is none other than healthy nutrition. If your child does not get the right level of nutrients their bodies will be forced to decide on which functions these nutrients need to be allocated to based on priority. The top priority for the body will always be survival, second will be growth while the third priority will be an allocation for physical developments which impact education, intelligence and intellectual skills. The priority for the body in allocating nutrients will always be to live, even if it means living with less intellect it will do so rather than dying with high intellect.
Malnutrition results in various and significantly harmful situations. Some of these include:
- Delayed physical and motoring skills.
- A decrease in intellectual capabilities due to reproductive systems being affected, (extreme malnutrition can result in a drop of up to 15 or more in IQ points.
- Poor socializing skills and frequent behavioral issues.
- Inability to focus, weaknesses in learning and poor results in studies.
Nutrients that impact reproduction and behavioral growth
It is challenging to pinpoint certain nutrients as the only contributing factor to certain illnesses or depreciations since nutrients generally work in clusters to help boost physical capabilities. However, a lack of iodine and iron has been identified as a deciding factor that results in the above-mentioned outcomes. On a slightly positive note, it has been found even in a case of iron deficiency, if it is not extreme it will not impact behavioral developments. However, protein deficiencies have been seen to impact physical as well as mental development in a child.
One of the most vital stages in which nutrients have a greater impact in nurturing positive behavioral development is during the pregnancy period and the child's first 2 to 3 years.
Studies have shown that significant progress can be achieved, even if a child has suffered from significant malnutrition during their early stage, if early corrective steps have been taken to rectify this by providing proper nutrients and help related to social and psychological development. However, the greater the delay in rectifying these issues, the more chances that damages will become irreversible. In these situations, it will not be possible even during school time to reverse the harmful damages done to their intellectual capabilities. Long term studies have revealed that if a child received good nutrients during their early childhood it will result in immeasurable benefits for them during their youth and adult ages.
Deficiency of vitamin A is another condition that results in disabilities in children. Studies have shown that about one-third of the students in preschool or school suffer from this deficiency. Vitamin A deficiency can even result in blindness. In addition, children with this deficiency regularly fall sick. Vitamin A supplements can help child development and reduce sicknesses and death.
In general, malnutrition can result in:
- Obesity and being overweight.
- Type 2 diabetes.
- Iron deficiency.
- Teeth decay and cavities.
Children suffering from obesity and being overweight can have:
- Development issues in their bones and feet.
- Breathing difficulty such as asthma.
- Early puberty.
- Stones in the Gallbladder.
- Hip development issues.
- Kidney issues.
- Ovary related illnesses.
- Type 2 diabetes.
Minerals such as calcium can have an impact on emotional development. Deficiencies in these minerals have been linked to autism, hyperactivity, depression, mental disorders such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, etc. Therefore, give your child the best nutrients from a young age to ensure they have a healthy future.