Hidden hunger, also known as micronutrient deficiency, is a lack of essential minerals and vitamin that are required by the body for its proper development and growth. It affects more than 2 billion people around the world. Micronutrient deficiency is one of the most common nutritional disorders that is said to affect 1 in 3 people. It is the children who get affected the most by this disorder. Every day, about 2500 children die in India due to malnutrition. The numbers are definitely very shocking and disheartening.
Micronutrient Deficiency | Your Child Is Eating, But Is He Or She Eating Right?
Micronutrient deficiency severely affects the growth and development of infants. Therefore, we must ensure that the baby at that point of age gets the recommended amount of micronutrient through his or her daily diet. National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau of India says that over 50% of healthy-looking children suffer from deficiencies of micro-nutrients like Vit A, B2, B12, vitamin C, iron, trace minerals like iodine, zinc, etc. Having a dietary diversity by the consumption of foods with adequate amounts of micro nutrients is one of the simplest ways to cure malnutrition or hidden hunger in children.
In our country, India, parents typically focus on physical health and development of their child, not on their brain development and immunity levels. The daily diet followed in Indian households is rich in macronutrients, but it lacks in micronutrients. Macronutrients support only physical growth of a child, whereas micronutrients support their overall mental health and brain development. It means that a child can be having normal height and weight, but he or she might be suffering from micronutrient deficiency and the parents may not be aware of this fact. Kids are usually bustling with energy and appear to be healthy. This is because macro-nutrients are generally provided in full, especially when it comes to urban kids. However, micro-nutrients seldom receive the kind of focus and attention that is needed. It is thus important to understand the core difference between micro and macro-nutrients and work towards a healthier and fully balanced diet for your child.
Eating Habits And Their Relation With Micronutrient Deficiency
Good eating habits of children during early stage of their life serve as a foundation for their healthy future. More than one third of the child deaths that happen annually around the world are attributed to malnutrition. Under-nutrition or malnutrition weakens the body’s immunity and the resistance against various illnesses. Studies say that if a child is malnourished during first 1000 days of life, the child’s physical and mental health development is slowed which is not repairable even when the child is older. The nutritional deficiency will affect the child for the lifetime.
Fortified Foods To Overcome Micronutrient Deficiency
The role of fortified foods in overcoming nutrient deficiency is starting to get highlighted these days. World Health Organization has also recognized the importance of including fortified foods in the diet to bring down the cases of nutrient deficiency around the world.