In India, parents generally pay attention only to the physical growth of a child and not the overall brain development and immunity levels. The diet normally followed in Indian households is rich in macronutrients supporting only physical growth but lack in micro nutrients, which are essential for overall mental and brain development. This implies that a child with normal height and weight may actually be suffering from a nutritional deficiency, which parents are not even aware of. Gaps in daily nutrition with unsatisfactory nutritional quality results in nutrient deficiencies to set in at an early age.
Micronutrients are a group of nutrients which are required in trace amounts for normal growth and development. A long-term deficiency of micro-nutrients can lead to impaired cognitive and physical development in children. It is therefore essential to fulfil the nutritional gaps with nutrient-dense foods in order to eliminate the risk of malnutrition.
Hidden Hunger: YES!! Time to talk about it!
Micronutrient deficiency is often referred to as “Hidden Hunger” as it develops gradually over time, and their impact is not realized until it causes severe damage. Millions of children suffer from stunted growth, cognitive delays, weakened immunity and infections as a result of micronutrient deficiencies. There is strong evidence for the contribution of zinc deficiency to growth faltering among children; even mild to moderate zinc deficiency may affect growth. Vitamin A and iron deficiencies also have been demonstrated to cause growth faltering, however only when the deficiency state of these nutrients is severe.
Therefore, it is important to fulfil the micronutrient requirements of infants on priority, with parents and caretakers realizing that a healthy and nutritious diet for infant is necessary, not occasionally, but on a daily basis. Nutrient-rich foods like dark green vegetables, dairy products, nuts and fruits are powerhouses of micronutrients and need to be fed daily to a child. Therefore, providing vitamins and minerals enriched food or fortified food are essential for overall growth of an infant.
Kindly spread the word about this deficiency and help others in leading a healthy life!
Eat Healthy and Stay Healthy 🙂