- Lack of appetite
- Weakness and fatigue
- Experiencing frequent illness and taking a long time to recover
- Wounds that take a long time to heal
- Poor concentration
- Feeling cold
- Pale skin
- Bruising easily
- Aching joints
- Thinning hair
- Bleeding gums
- Night blindness
- Slow intellectual or behavioral development and poor academic performance
- Soft and tender bones
- Edema or fluid retention [e.g. edema of hands and feet; pot belly]
- Old man facies
- Fluid and electrolyte imbalances
- Poor skin turgor
- Loss of fat and skeletal muscle
- Sunken eyes
- Oral ulcers
Please note that some of the above-mentioned symptoms can point out a deficiency in a specific micronutrient.
For instance, bleeding gums may indicate that your child needs more vitamin C or K; pale skin can be due to iron-deficiency anemia, and soft bones may mean a calcium deficiency.
When to seek medical help
If you notice any of the signs and symptoms above, talk to your child’s doctor at the soonest possible time.
Do the same thing when you’re worried about any aspect of your child’s growth and development.
Malnutrition is a general term that indicates a deficiency, an excess, or imbalance in a person’s nutritional intake.
The signs of malnourished preschoolers are not confined to thin-looking and underweight children. A child who’s overweight or has obesity can also be considered malnourished.
In some instances, children with a healthy weight also experience malnutrition if they have micronutrient deficiencies.
To prevent malnutrition, children must have a healthy, balanced diet and moderate physical activity. Finally, don’t forget that regular check-ups with the pediatrician are also essential.
Learn more about Preschooler Nutrition here.