Here's a look at some of the vitamin and iodine deficiencies in children and ways how parents can deal with it.
By Dr Santha Narayanan
Nutrition intake is the key determinant of a child’s survival, growth and development. Different nutrients are required to carry out the normal vital functions of the body.
Nutrients inadequate amounts are required to perform their specific functions; their deficiency leads to changes in the body, producing clinical features.
The body’s needs change as it grows and babies have different nutritional needs compared to that of elders and pregnant women.
Human milk has a unique nutrient profile which is the ideal food for neonates and infants. After a certain age, though, if milk is not supplemented with other foods, it could lead to deficiencies of iron, zinc, Vitamin K and Vitamin D.
Our food is not what it used to be. It is more processed, sugar-laden, nutrient deficient, chemically loaded and damaging to our system.
In today’s fast-paced world, there is not enough time to sit down and have a meal. The influence of T.V, busy parents, skipping meals due to lack of time, the changing tastes of children due to western influences, several fast food outlets, unhealthy eating practices, ignorance of our own nutritional requirements and the nutritional content and values of the foods we eat, are all contributing factors to nutritional deficiencies.
The most common deficiency diseases we see in our day to day practice are the vitamin, mineral and protein deficiencies. In this issue, we will be highlighting vitamin and iodine deficiencies and the benefits if taken in adequate quantity.
It is found in malnourished children and in children with inadequate intake of Vitamin A. It is a fat soluble vitamin.
It is essential to prevent eye problems that could lead to blindness.
Carrot, broccoli, sweet potato, butter spinach, pumpkin, liver of beef, pork, chicken, fish, turkey including cod liver oil, deep yellow-orange vegetables and fruits.
Deficiency leads to Beri Beri. The symptoms for Beri Beri include:
Mushrooms, sunflower seeds, vegetables, asparagus, broccoli, sprouts, lettuce, spinach, tomato, animal liver, egg yolk, fish lean meat, nuts, chickpeas, dhal, soya bean, rice bran, wheat germ, whole grain, unpolished rice and oatmeal.
Dairy products, egg yolk, kidney, meat, sea foods
Fish liver oils, animal liver, egg yolk, milk fortified with Vitamin D, sweet potatoes.
Iodine is needed for Thyroid hormone and as this cannot be made by the body, it has to be supplemented.
Dairy products, fortified salt, breads, eggs, seafood, meat (Excess intake causes hyperthyroidism, though this is less common than hypothyroidism)
Beans, chicken, eggs, dairy products, fish lean meat, vegetables, asparagus, broccoli, brussels sprouts.
Bananas, chickpeas, potatoes, raw rice,bran, spinach, turnip, greens, yeast, eggs, chicken, garlic, nuts, vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, wheat germ and whole grains.
In conclusion, we need to provide children with a balanced diet that includes a minimum of 3-4 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Early recognition and treatment of nutritional deficiencies will help the children lead happy and healthy lives. In the next issue, we will be highlighting the effects of mineral and protein deficiencies.
Dr Santha Narayanan is a practising paediatrician from Chennai.
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