Malnutrition, not known to many, does not only refer to poor nutrition due to lack of healthy foods to eat but as well as over-consumption of it.
Malnutrition affects all ages but is more dominant in children below 5 years old. The World Food Programme states that the first two years of a child is the most critical stage because this determines if the child would be of a normal health or be malnourished.
Needless to say, parents should pay extra attention to their kids at an early age to prevent malnutrition. Children that are diagnosed as undernourished will have difficulties in their school performance and hard time keeping up with the activities that healthy children can easily do. Malnutrition, in its sense, can be the cause for mental and/or physical disability, illness and worst, death.
During pregnancy, the mother should eat healthy and proper foods, take the vitamins she needs and do the appropriate physical activities for her exercise. That way, the baby would come out healthy. But, the role of a mother does not stop there, in fact, it is just the beginning. It is recommended that mothers exclusively breastfed their child for the first 6 months. Onwards, they can decide to mix it with powdered milk but the presence of breastfeeding should not be eliminated until the child reaches 3.
Cases about mothers being “humiliated” because of breastfeeding their child in public places have been known. This can be one reason why most (or not) mothers decide to only breastfeed their child at home and switch to powdered milk when going out. Yet, it should be widespread that there are laws protecting mother’s in their right to breastfeed their child. Aside from that, breastfeeding is really beneficial.
The benefits of breastfeeding are not solely for the child but for the mothers as well. Studies have shown that children who are breastfed have higher IQ’s and are healthier than those who are not. They have stronger immunity and are more resistant to malnutrition.
The most common and audible sign of malnutrition is poor weight and growth issues. Aside from the lack of nutrients, other signs can be seen in the child’s behavior.
There are many factors that contribute to malnutrition; on top of the list will be the insufficiency of healthy foods to eat. Natural disasters, wars, and even political problems are also great factors for the existence of malnutrition in one place or country. It is more prevalent in underdeveloped and developing countries.
According to the World Health Organization, Asia has the largest percentage of population that is affected by malnutrition, which is 70%. The remaining percent is divided by Africa and Latin, 26% and 4% respectively.
The top 5 countries that have the highest number of people affected from malnutrition are Nigeria, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Philippines and Sierra Leone.
Malnutrition can be cured when it is caused by nutrient deficiency. But if it’s caused by medical condition, then it should be taken care of first before handling the inadequacy.
The best way to address malnutrition is by:
· Ensuring the availability of healthy foods
· Guaranteeing accessibility of health care centers and healthy environment
The Malnutrition Awareness Week will be observed on September 26-30.
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