How Micronutrients Play Key Role in Growing Child’s Health & Development?
Created by Puja Sharma Vasisht Updated on Mar 31, 2020
The most common concern of any mom is her child’s health. And while considering the child’s health, most parents take into consideration the child’s weight. Yes, a consistent gain in weight and height are indicators of good health but there are other key factors that determine a child’s growth and development. While most parents try to strike a balance between carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in the diet, the role of micronutrients is mostly missed out – and micronutrients play a key role in a growing child’s health and development. [Know: 3 Health Drinks rich in Micro-nutrients]
Do you know that your child is growing a wee bit on a minute-to-minute basis? The process of growth is continuous and hence adequate nutrition is required “every day” for normal growth to happen. And so it becomes critical to provide key micronutrients to children on a daily basis. What are these micronutrients and how to ensure your child gets these in his/her daily diet?
Essential Micronutrients for Child's Health & Development
What are these micronutrients and how can they help our child? Our expert nutritionist, Puja Vashisht, tells you what to do. Let’s find out...
- Micronutrient: Vitamin A – This micronutrient is required for good vision and development of a healthy immune system. Studies show that Vitamin A affects the child’s growth too.
- Micronutrient: Vitamin B1 (thiamine), Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and Vitamin B12 – These are part of B-complex vitamins. Vitamin B1 and Vitamin B2 act as coenzymes in the body by helping in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, etc. In other words, any deficiency of these would affect the child’s body’s ability to utilize energy and proteins from the food. A deficiency of Vitamin B 12 (sources: liver, meat, fish, organ meats, egg, etc) is seen in vegetarian/vegan children. A deficiency in this vitamin can slow the growth of the child.
- Micronutrient: Folic acid or folate – This is a must for good health. A deficiency can lead to increased susceptibility to infection (low immunity) and anemia. Folic acid deficiency can affect a child adversely, as repeated infections; malabsorption of nutrients can make a child weak and hamper his/her growth.
- Micronutrient: Vitamin C – Though this micronutrient is found plenty in citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwis, guava, amla, etc, your child could still be deficient. This is because of a child’s reluctance to eat fruits. Vitamin C is important as it has a role in strengthening immunity, helps in wound healing, acts as an antioxidant, besides helping in iron absorption especially from vegetarian diets.
- Micronutrient: Vitamin D – Vitamin D is required to maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphate, which in turn needed for normal mineralization of bone, muscle contraction, nerve conduction and general cellular functions in all cells of the body. Due to the pollution cover, the UV rays required for synthesis of Vitamin D on our skin is not adequate, making children prone to its deficiency. [Explore: How To Deal With Vitamin D Deficiency In Children?]
- Micronutrient: Zinc – An important mineral for growing children as zinc deficiency can cause growth retardation. Studies have shown that even mild deficiency of zinc can affect the growth. Zinc aids in the body’s absorption of minerals – thus it helps in bone growth, for instance, by helping the body absorb calcium.
- Micronutrient: Calcium – The most abundant mineral in the body, it helps in the formation and maintenance of healthy teeth and bones. It’s important for normal clotting of the blood, regulation of body fluids, proper muscle contraction and transmitting messages through the nerves. [Explore: How Important Calcium-rich Foods in Your Child's Diet?]
Growth in children is continuous though there may be periods of spurts and stasis. However, there are growth changes happening in the child’s body even during the period of stasis, which become evident during the growth spurt. Hence, it can be concluded that the process of growth happens on a daily basis and hence adequate nutrition is required “daily” for normal growth to happen. Therefore, it becomes critical to provide all key micronutrients in adequate quantities to children on a daily basis.
Data shows that the typical Indian diet does not provide an adequate quantity of all essential micronutrients. Further, studies have conclusively shown that daily micronutrient supplementation improved height even in apparently healthy children. So even as you ensure that your child gets the best nutrition diet from food, it is a good idea to consider a health food drink such as Horlicks that covers the daily recommended requirements of the micronutrients mentioned above – a great health boon for your growing child, plus it will take care of your stress regarding your child’s health, as well!
Did you like the nutrition insights shared by clinical nutritionist, Puja Vashisht? Are you now more aware of the kind of nutrients your growing child needs? Do share your concerns and learnings with fellow parents (in the comments section below)…
Disclaimer: This is an awareness drive powered by Horlicks to emphasize the importance of micronutrients in a child’s diet.
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