Pediatric Nutrition

A healthy and nutritious diet is a prerequisite for optimum growth and development in children. Natural foods should fulfill the demand for vitamins, minerals, proteins, and fibers rather than supplements. A healthy and balanced diet delivers sustained energy to the child and prevents malnutrition. The children's diet and dietary habits can be managed by consulting with an expert nutritionist.


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  • Weaning diet: Weaning is a process of transitioning the baby from breast milk to food. There are normally three stages of weaning. Stage I includes an introduction to solid food, stage II involves giving food of more taste and texture, and stage III comprises family food or a wider variety of food. It is important to take advice from a nutritionist during weaning to ensure the supply of adequate nutrients to the child.
  • Nutritional deficiencies: Deficiency of essential nutrients has short and long-term consequences on the child. These include poor immunity, reduced cognitive function, impaired physical growth, weight loss, fatigue, and altered behavior or mood.


Some of the causes of nutritional deficiency in children are:

  • Inadequate nutrient intake: Eating an unhealthy or imbalanced diet increases the risk of nutritional deficiencies in children.
  • Vegetarian diet: Children on a vegetarian diet might have a protein deficiency.
  • High requirement: In certain situations, such as those involving child athletes, the demand for nutrients in the body increases. Failure to meet this demand results in nutritional deficiency.
  • Overcooking of food: Excessive cooking results in the destruction of vitamins.
  • Medications: Certain medications, such as antacids or anti-seizure drugs, reduce the absorption of nutrients.
  • Underlying medical conditions: Some gastrointestinal diseases, such as short bowel syndrome or pancreatitis, may result in reduced absorption of vitamins.

The following foods help in enhancing the growth and development of the child:

  • Beans are rich in fiber and proteins.
  • Avocados have a high level of monounsaturated fats that manage cholesterol and reduce inflammation
  • Milk contains calcium, vitamin D, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin B12, and protein.
  • Whole grains are rich in fiber.
  • Vegetables such as spinach (rich in vitamin K), oranges (rich in vitamins A and C), and vegetables such as cabbage and broccoli (enhance gut health).
  • Some of the nutrients critical for the growth and development of children are:

    • Calcium: Calcium deficiency in children may result in short stature, muscle cramps, seizures, weakened tooth enamel, brittle nails, and dry hair and skin.
    • Iron deficiency: Symptoms of iron deficiency in children are fatigue, rapid heartbeat, pale appearance, behavioral problems, developmental delays, and dizziness or lightheadedness.
    • Vitamin D deficiency:Deficiency of vitamin D causes loss of appetite, bone and muscle pain, difficulty in sleeping, depression, and poor immunity.
    • Vitamin A deficiency: Children with vitamin A deficiency may experience night blindness, dry skin, delayed wound healing, and delayed growth.
    • Other deficiencies: The other nutritional deficiencies include deficiency of folic acid, zinc, and fiber.