The Dangers of Stunted Growth And How To Prevent It
Time to read 5 min
Did you know that stunted growth is a global problem among children? It has been around for decades and is still a looming problem. There are a lot of causes why this is happening, and your children might be at risk.
But wait, don't panic! Because we are here to help you out. We have some awesome strategies to prevent stunted growth and ensure healthy development in kiddos. One of the key factors is making sure they get proper nutrition. Yep, feeding them a well-balanced diet packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and all the good stuff is super important for their growth.
So, without further ado, let's dive into the details and learn how to keep those little ones thriving and reaching their full potential. This article might be long, so prepare your notes because you will learn a lot. That said, let's begin!
First…What is Stunted Growth?
But here's the thing: preventing stunting goes beyond just focusing on nutrition. It's about addressing other essential factors like clean water, sanitation facilities, and good hygiene practices. These things play a significant role in keeping stunting at bay.
Having access to clean water means kids can stay hydrated and avoid diseases that can lead to malnutrition. Sanitation facilities help keep their environment clean and free from harmful germs. And practicing good hygiene, like washing hands with soap before meals and after using the bathroom, can reduce the risk of infections and diseases.
So, it's not just about putting food on the table. It's about creating an environment where children have all the necessary resources to grow healthy and strong. By addressing these factors and promoting clean water, sanitation, and good hygiene practices, we can make a real difference in preventing stunting and giving kids a better chance at a bright future.
Data Says It All
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), stunting has declined slightly as time passed. Reportedly, the global percentage of stunting was around 33.0% between 2000 and 2022. Based on WHO's data, the current state of stunting is sitting at 22.3% globally.
The top countries where stunting is most prominent are as follows:
- West and Central Africa - 32.5%
- East and Southern Africa - 32.3%
- South Asia - 31.8%
- Middle East and North Africa - 15.6%
- East Asia and Pacific 13-5%
From this data, you can see that neighboring countries are affecting each other when it comes to stunted growth. It is most prominent in some African countries where access to health care still needs to be on par with other developed countries.
Further Complications Caused By Stunted Growth
Stunted growth not only affects a child's height but also leads to other health complications. That includes a decline in their cognitive performance and a delay in motor development that will carry on as they age.
Study shows that children who experience stunting have lower cognitive scores than those who do not. However, children with catch-up growth showed no difference in cognitive performance compared to non-stunted ones.
It concludes that there is still a chance to recover a child's cognitive abilities. Parents all over the world can achieve this with proper nutrition, which is our next topic below.
Prevent Stunting With Proper Nutrition
The effects of stunted growth on your child's development are indeed alarming. Luckily, parents can do early prevention with the help of proper nutrition. As a parent, you have to give your little ones the nutrition they need so they can grow healthier and taller.
Here are some nutrition tips for you moms and dads out there!
Cut Back On Junk
Kids love junk food, and there's no denying that. Whether it's fries from Mcdonald's or Burger King's Whooper, junk is just… everywhere. The best thing you can do is to cut back your kids' junk intake. Instead, please give them a high-protein diet or healthier snacks like yogurt, muffins, oatmeal, or anything you can prepare at home.
High-protein Diet is Key
A high-protein diet is beneficial for your little ones' height growth. Protein helps build muscle mass and encourages the production of growth hormones essential for kids' nutritional needs. Protein-rich foods include eggs, milk, lean meat, leafy greens, Greek Yogurt, and lentils.
Aside from a high-protein diet, it would help if you encouraged your kids to eat fruits. Offer them fruits as a dessert or afternoon snack after playing outside. Fruits contain many nutrients, such as vitamins C and D, potassium, fiber, folate, and more. The best part? You can turn fruits into anything! Turn fruits into a smoothie, add them to oatmeals, or transform them into jelly jam.
Breastfeed When Needed
This one is for the mom's out there! If your child is still an infant, regularly breastfeed them until they turn 1 to 2 years old. Breastfeed is packed with micronutrients and protein that will help prevent stunting.
Double Up Your Kid’s Nutrition with Supplements
Avoid Stunted Growth by Nurturing Your Child!
Our responsibility as parents is to prioritize our children's growth and health. Preventing stunted growth is just the beginning, and there will be more challenges to tackle as they grow old. But if you stick around and guide your little one through it, you'd definitely make a great team to overcome such obstacles. Enjoy the journey ahead!