Signs That Your Child Is Deficient Of Micronutrients: Expert Explains Causes And Treatment

Consuming appropriate amounts of nutrients is essential in growing age. It is important for parents to lay a firm foundation for their children and provide them with the right nutrition.

Many children lack micronutrients because of unhealthy eating habits and improper diet. This can cause deficiency and to avoid deficiency.

Signs Of Micronutrient Deficiency In Children

Signs of micronutrient deficiency in children is Ranging from subtle signs like feeling of tiredness, decreased appetite, frequent infections, poor growth to diseases of deficiency like rickets, scurvy, anaemia which can manifest as fractures, bony deformities, night blindness, gum bleeding to name a few.

What are micronutrients?

Our body needs some nutrients in very small quantities for all normal bodily functions. These nutrients are called micronutrients.

We commonly know these micronutrients by the name of minerals and vitamins. Examples include iron, iodine, magnesium, fluorine and vitamins like vitamin A, Vitamin D and B complex vitamins.

Micronutrient Deficiency

Lack of micronutrients can lead to poor physical and mental growth and development.

Initially the body uses up the stores of all the nutrients so that normal functioning is not hampered. This is called subclinical deficiency wherein the child will not have any symptoms.

However, if deficiency is prolonged, signs of deficiency start showing. Symptoms depend on specific micronutrient deficiency.

Types of Micronutrient deficiency

Following are the types of micronutrient deficiencies seen in children.

Vitamin D deficiency:

Early symptoms like aches and pains in older children and delayed motor development and delayed eruption of teeth in infants can be seen. Severe deficiency can cause severe symptoms like fits in infancy and bony deformities later. It also increases risk of wheezing and asthma requiring hospitalisation.

Iron deficiency:

Iron deficiency is very common in India according to Dr Dande. In this deficiency, a body lacks red blood cells. Iron deficiency can result in poor appetite and poor concentration, weakness, fatigue, pica (craving to eat mud), delayed development and tremors. Severe deficiency can cause low oxygen levels and heart failure.

Vitamin A deficiency:

Deficiency of vitamin A can cause night blindness, corneal injury and also increases susceptibility for lung and respiratory infections.

Prevention of Micronutrient Deficiency

Prevention during pregnancy

Prevention of micronutrient deficiency from an early age by ensuring a nutrient rich diet is of utmost importance. Prevention starts early on, even before a baby is conceived. Ensuring expectant mothers or those planning pregnancy are nutritionally replete is important to prevent early micronutrient deficiency in future in the child.

Iron and Folic acid supplementation before and during pregnancy for a minimum of three months protects the unborn baby for initial 4-6 months. Meals cooked at home should be wholesome and fruits and vegetables should be regularly included in the food consumed every day.

What should a food plate consist of

As per guidelines, 25% of a food plate should comprise fruits and vegetables. Over reliance on multivitamin supplements should be avoided. Some foods and oils are fortified with vitamins and minerals.The best example is iodised salt which prevents iodine deficiency, she added.

What to avoid

Another important point is to not attribute any foodstuffs to illnesses. It is a common practice to avoid fruits like banana and sour fruits and even coconut water during colds or to prevent cold and cough. Some foods are considered too hot to be consumed like eggs during summer.

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