Friday 31 January 2020

Malnutrition In Children

Malnutrition  can  be  caused  by  deficiencies,  excesses, or imbalances  in an  individual’s  consumption  of  nutrients. It addresses 3 broad groups of conditions: 

  • Undernutrition(stunting, wasting and underweight);
  • Hidden hunger caused by a lack of essential nutrients;
  • Overweight among children under the age of five.

    As children begin transitioning to soft or solid foods around the six-month mark, too many are introduced to the wrong kind of diet. As they grow older, their exposure to unhealthy food becomes alarming, driven largely by inappropriate marketing and advertising, the abundance of ultra-processed foods in cities but also in remote areas, and increasing access to fast food and highly sweetened beverages. 
There is basically three major 

Causes Off Malnutrition

  • Basic causes which include poverty,  insecurity  and  lack  of  access  to  clean  water.
  • Underlying Causes This  is  usually  found  at  the  community  level  as  a  result  of  failure  of an  individual  and:  household  to  obtain  proper  nutrition  due  to  food insecurity,  inequitable  distribution  of  wealth  and  poor  housing.
  • Immediate Cause include Inadequate  intake  or  poor  absorption  due  to diseases  and  infections  including  malarial,  acute  diarrheal  disease, measles,  HIV-AIDS  and  tuberculosis especially  if  a  delay  occurs  in  seeking  professional  health care.
Consequences of malnutrition in the society

The consequences of malnutrition includes increased risk of infection, death, and delayed cognitive development, leading to low adult incomes, poor economic growth and intergenerational transmission of poverty. Children with malnutrition have reduced ability to fight infection and are more likely to die from common diseases such as malaria, respiratory infections and diarrhoeal diseases 

   Globally, malnutrition is regarded as the most important risk factor for illness and death and it is associated with 52.5 % of all deaths in young children. According to UNICEF, WHO and the World Bank, out of the 161 million under-fives estimated to be stunted globally in 2013, over a third resided in Africa. In Nigeria, malnutrition remains a major public health and development concern:49 percent of children under five years of age are not growing well (they are either stunted, wasted or overweight). This is partly because 34 percent of children between six months and two years of age are fed food that is not rich and diversified enough to ensure optimal growth. This puts them at risk of poor brain development, weak learning, low immunity, increased infections and, in many cases, death.


High levels of malnutrition have multidimensional consequences for children which will impact resilience and long-term development of households and children, including intergenerational effects. Addressing malnutrition is not only lifesaving but it is also essential to strengthen the resilience of communities and systems, to support long term development goals and improve human capital,

Thursday 30 January 2020

Reasons For Low Supply of Breast Milk


How does milk production work?

By the end of the second trimester, the body is capable of breastfeeding. As early as the third month of pregnancy, the breasts start to prepare for breastfeeding, developing the glandular tissue needed to produce milk and increasing the number of milk ducts in thr breasts.  Once a baby is born, a hormone called prolactin cues milk production, and another hormone, oxytocin, causes tiny muscle cells in the breasts to contract, pushing milk out. As the baby nurses, the prolactin levels increase and more milk is produced, in a continuing cycle of supply and demand: Baby drains milk from your breasts (demand), breasts respond by producing more milk (supply).

Potential causes of low milk supply

Often, mothers think that their milk supply is low when it really isn’t. If your baby is gaining weight well on breastmilk alone, then you do not have a problem with milk supply. But if you’re not quite sure about baby’s current weight gain, if baby is having an inadequate number of wet and dirty diapers then the following reasons may be why you have a low milk supply:

1. The Baby Isn't Latching on Correctly: 

The most common cause of low breast milk supply is a poor latch. If your baby is not latching on to your breast the right way, he can't get the milk out of your breasts very well. The removal of your breast milk from your breasts is what tells your body to make more breast milk. So, if your baby isn't latching on correctly, your milk supply will suffer. If you aren't sure if your baby is latching on well, have someone evaluate your breastfeeding technique.

2. Supplementing. Nursing is a two-way process; supply & demand process. Milk is produced as your baby nurses, and the amount that she nurses lets your body know how much milk is required. Every bottle (of formula, juice or water) that your baby gets means that your body gets the signal to produce that much less milk.

3. You Aren't Breastfeeding Often Enough: Just like a poor latch, not breastfeeding often enough is another common reason mothers develop a low milk supply. Newborns need to breastfeed at least every 2 to 3 hours throughout the day and night. The more you put your baby to the breast, the more you will be stimulating your body to make a healthy supply of breast milk

4. Allowing Others to Influence You: Sometimes the people in your life who didn't breastfeed, or who don't understand breastfeeding, can make you question yourself. They may say that your breasts are too small to make enough breast milk, or that the baby is breastfeeding too often so you must not have enough milk. As long as your child is growing at a consistent healthy rate, there's no need to worry or to listen to the doubts and negative comments of others. 

5. Cutting short the length of nursings. Stopping a feeding before your baby  ends the feeding herself can interfere with the supply-demand cycle. Also, your milk increases in fat content later into a feeding, which helps baby gain weight and last longer between feedings.

Saturday 25 January 2020


Zinc deficiency is defined as an insufficient zinc or serum zinc level below the normal range  to meet the needs of the body. In humans, zinc deficiency is caused by reduced dietary intake, inadequate absorption, increased loss, or increased body system utilization. According to an article published in the journal Scientific Reports, about 1.1 billion people are zinc-deficient due to inadequate dietary intakes worldwide. Its deficiency is characterized by growth retardation, loss of appetite, and impaired immune function. In more severe cases, zinc deficiency causes hair loss, diarrhea, delayed sexual maturation, impotence, hypogonadism in males, and eye and skin lesions. Recently, zinc deficiency has been linked to decreased growth, increased colds and infections, impaired memory, learning disabilities, and poor attention span. 
    Data shows that zinc deficiency is one of the most common micronutrient deficiencies in the world. Along with low levels of iron, iodine, folate and vitamin A, zinc deficiency is a common contributor to poor growth, intellectual impairments, perinatal complications, and increased risk of morbidity and mortality, according to research published in Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism. Zinc deficiency is such a serious global problem that it’s responsible for 176,000 diarrhea deaths, 406,000 pneumonia deaths and 207,000 malaria deaths — primarily in Africa, the Eastern Mediterranean and South-East Asia.

   Zinc is important for numerous functions and supports growth and development during pregnancy, childhood and adolescence. From birth, infants are confronted with massive amounts of information from multiple sources. They learn to differentiate relevant from irrelevant information so they can focus their attention on the information necessary for their growth and development. Zinc present in the brain contributes to its structure and function. Like iron and iodine, Its deficiency can lead to long-term deficits in children’s neuropsychologic functioning, motor development or activity, behaviour, attention and thus interfere with cognitive development.

 The recommended daily intake of children is as follows:

0–6 months 2 mg*
7–12 months 3 mg
1–3 years 3 mg
4–8 years 5 mg

N:B: Breast milk provides sufficient zinc (2 mg/day) for the first 4–6 months of life but does not provide recommended amounts of zinc for infants aged 7–12 months, who need 3 mg/day.

The highest concentration of dietary zinc is found in red meat and poultry. Other good food sources include beans, nuts,  certain types of seafood (such as crab and lobster), whole grains, fortified breakfast cereals.

Tips to make zinc more available in the daily diets. 

  • Soak legumes (beans) in water before cooking them. This reduces the presence of phytates, making it easier for the body to process the zinc.
  • Choose leavened grain products can also help reduce the number of phytates, increasing the amount of zinc for the body to use.

Tuesday 21 January 2020

How to Spot Common Nutritional Deficiencies in Children

Nutritional deficiency occurs when the body is not getting enough nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. Children’s nutritional needs differ from those of adults primarily because they are growing. These problems that can have immediate and long-term effects on their health, growth and development. Food allergies, iron deficiency, tooth decay and constipation are common in the early years. If caught early, these nutritional deficiencies are much easier to remedy. 

Iron Deficiency (Anemia): Iron makes it possible for red blood cells to transport oxygen to our vital organs and throughout the body. It is commonly found in infants, preschool children, adolescent girls and pregnant women.

Symptoms of iron deficiency, or anemia, include: tiredness, pale skin (especially around the hands, nails, and eyelids), tongue may be smooth, pale and red, brittle and cracked nails, rapid heartbeat or a heart murmur, irritability, low appetite, dizziness, inability to concentrate.

Vitamin D Deficiency: Vitamin D is critical both in its own right, as well as for its role in the absorption of calcium. Both Vitamin D and calcium are vital in growing strong bones and teeth. Vitamin D is formed by the action of ultraviolet rays from the sun on the precursor sterols in the skin. Deficiency of Vitamin D causes impairment of calcium absorption from digested food, resulting in rickets in children.

Characteristics: Softened skull in infants, soft fragile bones with bowing of legs, swelling of wrists, knee and ankle joints, poorly developed muscles, delayed dentition, restlessness and nervous irritability.
    If the deficiency is not corrected, it can lead to serious skeletal deformities and a condition known as Rickets.

B Vitamin Deficiency: The B Vitamins are needed in every area of our body and help maintain a strong immune system and optimal mental function.

Symptoms of B Vitamin deficiencies may include: decreased urine output, excessive crying accompanied by thin and plaintive whining, inability to learn and focus at school. loss of appetite, bad breath, weakness, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, etc

Zinc Deficiency: Zinc is a trace mineral that is an essential element for humans and is  often forgotten in terms of discussions about nutritional needs. It usually takes a backseat to other well-known minerals. It is widely distributed throughout the body but the highest concentrations are found in the skin, eye, hair, nails etc. However, zinc is equally important for growth and healthy development in children.

Symptoms of zinc deficiency is characterized by poor appetite, weight loss, stunted growth, small sex glands in boys, skin changes, lightened pigment in hair(dull hair), white spot on fingernails and poor wound healing and changes in the sense of taste and/or smell. If left unchecked, zinc deficiency can lead to stunted growth, poor wound healing, and hair loss.