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Signs Your Child is Nutrient Deficient

Children's Nutrition

Signs Your Child is Nutrient Deficient

Are you worried about the health of your child? Do you think that they are not developing as quickly as they should? Do you think they are not getting all of the proper nutrients they need?

As a parent, we all want the best for our children, and if you’re afraid your child is nutrient deficient, here is what you should be looking for.

What Is Malnourishment?

In 2015 the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and The World Bank came together to do research on malnutrition and children which indicated over two hundred million children worldwide are suffering from conditions caused by malnutrition. Through this research, they were trying to identify exactly which nutritional factors are most important to support optimal growth.

When a child is not receiving proper nutrition from their diet, they are more likely to have stunted growth. A sign that your child may be  nutrient deficient is if their height has plateaued and is not steadily increasing along with their weight. Poor nutrition during childhood can affect not only growth and adult height, but also intellectual ability and other aspects of development.

Nutrients Essential For Growth

The study by WHO, UNICEF, and The World Bank, compared how diet was correlated to stature. They found that a diet high in rice and wheat protein was correlated to lower statured adults than to diets with higher amounts of animal proteins.

The reason may be that rice and wheat protein are not complete proteins, in that they don’t provide all the essential amino acids that are found in animal proteins.  The essential amino acids in animal protein are critical for healthy growth and can be difficult to get from a plant-based diet.

Whey protein in particular, which comes from milk, is important for child growth and development as there is a strong correlation between milk and growth. In the United States, a study showed that girls over 10 who drank three glasses of milk a day were 2.3cm taller, on average, than girls who drank one cup or less of milk per day.

The WHO study also did research on deficiencies in micronutrients and their effect on linear growth. The micronutrients they observed were zinc, iron, copper, iodine, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. Although the findings on the effect of individual micronutrients on growth were not clear and require further research, when evaluated in combination they seem to show a strong correlation between deficiency and stunted growth.

The results of this research is not a surprise, as each of these micronutrients is known to play a different role in growth:

Zinc - Zinc is essential for protein synthesis, cellular growth, and cellular differentiation. Low zinc intake is associated with child mortality, preterm births, and impaired growth. 

Iron - Deficiency in iron is known as anemia. Signs include fatigue, low energy, pale skin, shortness of breath, and cold hands/feet. Studies show a link between iron-deficiency anemia and impaired physical growth.

Iodine - Iodine is a vital part of the two hormones produced by the thyroid gland. These hormones help regulate bone growth, development, and control metabolism. Inadequate intake of iodine may lead to impaired intellectual development and physical growth.

Keep An Eye On Your Child’s Weight Gain and Linear Growth

Nutrient deficiency is directly related to stunted growth and malnutrition during childhood and can have a direct effects on adult stature. The key to avoiding deficiencies is with a balanced diet of healthy and nutritious  foods. Good nutrition supports a well-functioning immune system and healthy growth.

If you are concerned about your child’s overall nutrition, Healthy Height™ can help. Our shake mix contains Vitamins A, C, D and minerals calcium, iron, and zinc which are important nutrients to support growth and health in children ages 3-9 who are lean, healthy, and short. Try Healthy Height™ today and see measurable growth in 6 months.