How Can Parents Intervene
What can you do if you spot the signs of undernutrition or malnutrition in children? The following tips will be helpful:
Bring your child to the doctor.
The difference between malnourished and undernourished children typically doesn’t matter – if you spot the signs we have mentioned above, the first thing you must do is bring your child to the doctor.
The pediatrician will check if your child’s height and weight are normal for their age. Moreover, they will accurately assess the child’s Body Mass Index, which determines if they are on the verge of or are already underweight or overweight.
Furthermore, pediatricians can better check the other signs and possible causes of malnutrition.
Modify their diet and eating habits
If the doctor determines that an unbalanced diet is causing your child’s malnutrition, talk to them about diet modifications.
Generally, a healthy, balanced diet involves:
- Various foods in all the food groups: fruits and vegetables, whole grains, protein foods, and dairy products. It would also help if you also incorporate healthy fats in their diet.
- Healthy snacks in between meals.
- Healthy drinks; for starters, undernourished children may need high-calorie (but still healthy) drinks.
For kids with excessive weight, healthy food choices and portion control are incredibly beneficial. Teaching them about good eating habits, like not eating when it’s not yet time, will also help bring down their weight.
Consider vitamin supplements
To treat any micronutrient deficiency in children, the doctor may recommend vitamin supplementation. Moreover, it will also be helpful to pick “fortified” foods for your kids as they contain various vitamins and minerals.
There may be a significant difference between malnourished and undernourished kids, but the priority stays the same: early intervention. This is because, without treatment, malnutrition can bring many adverse effects to a child’s growth and development.
Learn more about Childhood Malnutrition here.