The reason why malnourishment among children, whether children are obese or underweight is very much concerning is because long term obese and underweight for children can actually lead to comorbidity conditions and complications during adulthood such as the tendency of becoming obese during adulthood, thus lead to diseases like, diabetes, hypertension, heart problem, kidney problem and many more (2).
“According to World Health Organization (WHO), Malnutrition refers to deficiencies, excesses or imbalances in a person’s intake of energy and/or nutrients. The term malnutrition covers 2 broad groups of conditions. One is ‘undernutrition’—which includes stunting (low height for age), wasting (low weight for height), underweight (low weight for age) and micronutrient deficiencies or insufficiencies (a lack of important vitamins and minerals). The other is overweight, obesity and diet-related noncommunicable diseases (such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer).”
Thus despite, many efforts has been done, it is still hard to curb all this. Need not to mention about children who always fall sick due to not getting enough vitamins and minerals itself.
So, according to American Pediatric Association, not all children need to take supplement, but there are still kids who need supplement such as those kids who (1)
- Follow a vegetarian or vegan diet
- Have a condition that affects the absorption of or increases the need for nutrients, such as celiac disease, cancer, cystic fibrosis, or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Have had a surgery that impacts the intestines or stomach
- Are extremely picky eaters and struggle to eat a variety of foods
Most of the children nowadays are picky eaters, they usually just eat what is palatable to their taste. It is a problem for working parents to make their children try variety of food due to time constraint. At the end they just let their children what they want which in return will hinder children growth. These children to consume supplement in order to get back what they loss due to not eating variety of food.
There are also children who have problem in appetite, as a nutritionist we suggest to try various creative ways to improve your children appetite such as:
Play game while let them eat
Games like letting them be the food detective in finding broccoli or carrot in their food can makes them find eating is interesting and makes them do not even realize that they are eating instead it feels like they are playing. You may visit https://healthykidshealthyfuture.org/5-healthy-goals/nurture-healthy-eaters/classroom-activities/ for more activities with your kids to help them eat more (2).
Parents also can be creative in decorating food so it can improve their children appetite. Food that is similar to the cartoon characters that they are watching can really makes them happy eating thus improve their appetite!
Cook together with your child
Involve your children in the process of cooking can make them to be interested with food itself. All the hard work will make them hungry as well thus it is one of the effective ways to improve their appetite
You can also try to cook recipe for kids, you can find kids friendly recipe here….
Different food everyday
Staying in the daycare might exposed children to the same cycle of food which in the long run make them bored. So, parents can try to cook different stuff alternate days perhaps and send to the daycare with them, this will make them happier to eat their food.
However, as a working parent, time constraint is still a major issue here. Thus, the easy way out is multivitamin and minerals which is supplements.
But, we need to be cautious on the intake of supplement itself (1,4,5,6)
- Children who is below 2 years old is not encouraged to take any kind of supplements. They are allowed to try and eat variety of foods.
- Avoid megadose supplement as it can become toxic to your child body. Ask healthcare professionals on the correct dosage of it based on your child age.
- Let healthcare professionals know your medication that your child is currently on, because some medication and supplements might interfere one another.
In conclusion, supplementation cannot be an easy way out for parents in the long run, parents must make children eat variety of foods and eat healthily as well. Consult pediatrician, doctor, dietitian or nutritionist about your child food preference before you opt for any supplementation on the market for your kids.
- Healthline (n.d). Vitamins for Kids. Do they need them (And which ones)? https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamins-for-kids
- Bracale, R., Milani, L., Ferrara, E., Balzaretti, C., Valerio, A., Russo, V., Nisoli, E., & Carruba, M. O. (2013). Childhood obesity, overweight and underweight: a study in primary schools in Milan. Eating and weight disorders : EWD, 18(2), 183–191. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40519-013-0036-9
- Children Health System (n.d). Children activities. https://healthykidshealthyfuture.org/5-healthy-goals/nurture-healthy-eaters/classroom-activities/
- BBC Good Food (n.d). Recipe for kids. https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/kids-cooking
- WebMD (n.d). Vitamins for kids: Do Healthy Kids need supplement? https://www.webmd.com/parenting/guide/vitamins-for-kids-do-healthy-kids-need-vitamins#1
- Mayo Clinic. Healthy Lifestyle. Nutrition and Healthy Eating. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/multivitamins/faq-20058310