Malnutrition in Children: Symptoms & Treatment

4 min read

Are you sure if your kid is consuming adequate nutrition? If you have not watched this closely so far, start from now on. Malnutrition is a condition that arises not just because a child is not taking adequate food, but also if the child does not consume the right food. In general, there are three types of malnutrition in children. In this article, we shall discuss malnutrition in children, the signs and symptoms of malnourished children, and the effects of malnutrition in children.

malnutrition

What are the Signs & Symptoms of Malnutrition in Children?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 45% of death of children less than the age five years is correlated to undernutrition. Therefore, it is essential to closely monitor the child’s health and make sure they gain adequate nutrients so that the parents can find out if their child is suffering from malnutrition. The following are some of the alarming signs or causes of malnutrition in children:

  • Inappropriate Weight Management:

Weight management includes both losing and gaining unusual weight in a short period. According to the NHS, unusual and unintentional weight loss or gain is the primary sign of malnutrition in children. If you get a constant reply of “I am not hungry,” well, it’s time to find out why.

  • Frequently Falling Sick or Less Active:

If your child is less active or falling sick very often irrespective of the time and the season may indicate malnutrition in children.

  • Not Growing Taller:

Every child has their own pace of growth. However, at some point, your child’s height should match his / her age. The lack of adequate height or length might indicate malnutrition.

  • No Interest in Food and Drinks:

If your kid has never shown any interest in eating, even if it is his / her favorite food, sweets, or even drink, then it’s time for us to understand the symptom. As they grow, the interest in food increases. If not, it might indicate that your kid is not getting the daily nutritional needs.

fussy eater

  •  Longer Healing Time for Wounds:

There may be chances where your kid has just skid down the cycle and developed a wound. This has to heal over a period of time with the help of anti-biotic and ointments. If it takes a considerably longer time to heal, it may probably be because of malnutrition.

  • Problems in Concentration:

If your kid has problems concentrating on a particular thing at a time, don’t think it will change over a period. Instead, it may be because of not getting adequate nutrition.

Note: Some parents have raised a concern that can fussy eating make a kid malnourished? It is important to note that kids go through a phase where they don’t eat as much as required. But, this changes over a period of time. So, it is very important to check your child’s nutrition levels at regular intervals during pediatric visits.

Diagnosis of Malnutrition:

Identifying malnutrition in children is not an easy-go task. Your doctors might suggest a number of blood tests to determine the nutritional levels. Further, the following might be some of the factors to be considered for diagnosis:

  • The current BMI, compared with the previous one, to identify sudden loss of weight
  • Skin discoloration
  • Sunken eyes
  • Swollen abdomen

vitamin supplements

What is the Treatment?

Once your child is diagnosed with malnutrition, the following are the possible treatments that may be given to the malnourished child:

  • A proper dietary program customized to suit your child’s health.
  • Vitamins and mineral supplements may be given to support the body.
  • Treating any specific infections and medical conditions that serves as a root cause for malnutrition.
  • Continuous screening and monitoring

The best way to prevent malnutrition in children is to provide them a properly balanced diet.

 Malnutrition not only affects the children physically but also their mental development. Clinical Epidemiology and Global Health conducted research in 2019 in the rural districts of India. According to this research, out of the total children in the district, 40% are rigorously malnourished. This not only has affected the health but also has caused developmental delays, and even led to fatalities.

Therefore, as a parent, it is so important for us to understand the causes of malnutrition in children and check their daily nutritional needs. With the advent of technology, the diagnosis of malnutrition has become easy to ensure that proper and adequate treatment is provided to children so that they can stay healthy.

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