All you need to know about child malnutrition

All you need to know about child malnutrition


1 Malnutrition in children

2 Children at risk of malnutrition

3 symptoms of malnutrition in children

4 Diagnosis of malnutrition in children

5 Treatment of malnutrition in children

5.1 Treating malnutrition at home

5.2 Treatment of malnutrition in hospital

6 Prevention of malnutrition

7 References

All you need to know about child malnutrition

Malnutrition in children

Childhood malnutrition is estimated by indicators of stunting, wasting, being overweight, and being underweight.

The term malnutrition expresses two main conditions,

* The first is those that occur when a person’s diet is low in a set of certain nutrients important for health, which may affect growth, physical health, mood, and other matters.

* As for the second case, it occurs when the nutrients are not obtained in a balanced way, such as the result of a diet that may be high in calories, but is low in vitamins and minerals.

People who follow these diets may be obese or overweight, but they are also malnourished.

Children, women, the elderly, and people living in developing countries are at risk of this type of malnutrition.

who are the Children at risk of malnutrition?

Hunger is not the only cause of malnutrition. Where a child may become undernourished despite receiving adequate quantities of food, and this can be attributed to several factors, and in the following, we will mention some of them:

1- The child’s food does not contain the correct nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that the body needs.

2- The child suffers from a wheat allergy, or what is called celiac disease; Where sufferers suffer from digestive disorders caused by a protein called gluten, which is found in wheat, barley, and others.

3- If the child suffers from cystic fibrosis, which leads to problems in absorbing nutrients from food, because this disease affects the pancreas; It is the organ responsible for producing some enzymes essential for the digestive process.

4- The child spends a long time in the hospital.

5- The child suffers from dental problems.

6- Loss of appetite.

7- If the child has a serious head injury.

8- The child suffers from an eating disorder.

9- Having a serious infection.

Symptoms of malnutrition in children

Malnutrition affects both the brain and the body, and the severity of this effect depends on the degree of deficiency.

Where these symptoms worsen with the severe deficiency of these nutrients,

It also depends on the type of nutrients lost in the child’s daily meals, and in the following, we mention some of these symptoms in general:

  • Feeling dizzy.
  • Feeling tired and low on energy in the body.
  • Impaired immune system function; This reduces the body’s ability to fight infection.
  • Dryness and peeling of the skin.
  • Swelling and bleeding in the gums.
  • Decaying teeth.
  • Slow growth.
  • Poor attention,
  • Slow reaction.
  • Muscle weakness.
  • stomach bloating.
  • Osteoporosis and easy fracture.
  • Slow learning ability.

Diagnosis of nutritional deficiency in children

  • Childhood malnutrition is diagnosed by measuring the child’s weight and height and comparing them with charts that show the average height and expected weight of a child at this age.
  • Some children may show slower growth than their peers, which may indicate that they are suffering from malnutrition.
  • However, it should be noted that there are children who appear younger for their ages due to genetic factors, and this has nothing to do with malnutrition.

Treating malnutrition in children

 Treating malnutrition at home

 Malnutrition in children can be treated at home for children who are able to eat and digest food well, through the following:

  1. Cooperating with a nutrition counselor to develop a treatment plan and a diet commensurate with the patient’s situation, in order to develop healthy nutritional recommendations, and to improve the types of nutrients necessary for the body.
  2. Gradually increase the intake of protein, carbohydrates, water, minerals, and vitamins, in order to reach the quantities that cover the child’s need of them. Provide soft or pureed food for those who have difficulty swallowing, chewing, or eating.
  3. Take nutritional supplements of vitamins and minerals, and it is often recommended to give them to children with these conditions.
  4. Monitor a child’s body mass index regularly, to check for improvement or response to dietary interventions.
  5. Babies who are malnourished due to lack of protein and energy may need Protein bars or protein supplements. To cover the deficiency.
  6. A team of therapists and doctors with different specializations should be available to help people with special needs, who are unable to cook or shop for themselves, or who suffer from mental disorders, dementia, or long-term illnesses.

Malnutrition treatment in the hospital

Patients with moderate to severe malnutrition and who are unable to take food orally require the intervention of a hospital medical team.

Which consists of doctors and a gastroenterologist, in addition to a dietitian, a psychologist, and others; Where this team performs nasogastric tube feeding, or parenteral nutrition, and other methods used to enter food into the body.

Prevention of malnutrition

Malnutrition can be avoided by eating a healthy, balanced diet.

Which includes four main food groups, including the following:

First, bread, rice, potatoes, and other starchy foods; This group forms the bulk of the diet and provides the necessary calories to the body.

And this is done by analyzing starches into sugar molecules, which are later converted into energy in the body.

Secondly milk and dairy products; They are good sources of fats and simple sugars such as lactose, in addition to providing some essential minerals such as calcium.

Third, fruits and vegetables; Which are sources of vitamins, minerals, and fiber; Which improves the health of the digestive system.

Fourth, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans and other protein sources; Protein forms the building blocks of the body and contributes to many body functions and enzymes.

Fourth, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans and other protein sources; Protein forms the building blocks of the body and contributes to many body functions and enzymes.

İmportant notice:

The content of the submitted articles, including all text, graphics, images, and other materials, is provided for educational purposes only.

The information provided is not a substitute for professional medical advice or professional diagnosis.

Moreover, the information on this website should not be taken as final medical advice in relation to any case or individual situation.

We strongly recommend that you always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health service provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition, your general health, or the health of your child.



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