Children, like adults, can come in all shapes and sizes. But if you have noticed that your child is smaller than his/her playmates or classmates, it’s natural to worry and ask — is my child growing normally or is he/she “stunted”?
If you have concerns regarding your child’s growth and development, then the best thing to do is to consult and talk to your Pediatrician about it ASAP. But at the same time, here are a few things you should know as well regarding stunting or delayed growth:
What is stunting in kids?
Delayed growth, stunted growth, or stunting is a reduced or impaired growth rate in human development. Children can experience this due to poor nutrition, repeated infection, and inadequate psychosocial stimulation. The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies a child as stunted if his/her height-for-age is more than two standard deviations below the WHO growth standards median.
What are the symptoms that my child could be stunted?
If your child has one or more of the following symptoms, then he/she might be stunted:
- Your child’s height, weight, and head circumference do not display progress according to standard growth charts.
- Your child exhibits a delay in social and mental skills.
- Your child’s physical skills such as rolling over, sitting up, standing, or walking are noticeably slow to develop.
What can cause stunting in kids?
Stunting can be caused by a number of factors:
- Household and family factors, including: the mother’s poor health and nutrition during pre-conception, pregnancy, and lactation; infection; adolescent pregnancy; short birth spacing; inadequate child stimulation and activity; poor care practices; inadequate sanitation and water supply; insufficient household food allocation.
- Certain diseases and disorders, including: chronic systems and systemic disorders in your child’s nervous, circulatory, and gastrointestinal systems; diseases in major organs such as the liver, kidney, lungs, or connective tissue; skeletal dysplasia — wherein a number of conditions affect and cause bone growth problems; and certain types of anemia including sickle cell anemia. It can also be caused by Psychosocial Dwarfism, which is a disorder of short stature or growth failure that occurs with emotional deprivation, and/or child abuse or neglect.
- Hormonal or endocrine-related. This includes thyroid hormone deficiency or hypothyroidism, growth hormone deficiency, or other hormone disorders. The thyroid hormone is a necessity for normal growth, so kids who have low levels of this hormone might exhibit normal body proportions but appear younger than their actual age.
- Malnutrition. Malnutrition is most probably the most common cause of growth delay or failure in kids worldwide. Hence, stunting is most commonly seen in poverty-stricken areas and communities, where nutritional deficiencies prevail due to self-restricted diets. This includes inadequate feeding or diets that have poor micronutrient quality, low dietary diversity and intake of meat food sources, the low energy content of food sources, insufficient food quantity, contaminated food and water, poor hygiene, and unsafe storage and preparation of food.
What are the effects of stunting?
Sadly, stunting has a huge effect on a kid’s life and even his/her future family. It can result in impaired brain development, low IQ, weak immune systems, and a higher risk of serious diseases such as diabetes and cancer. Stunting can even be passed on to future generations.
Although childhood stunting can be caused by certain nutritional and even multi-sector factors, you can still ensure that your child is not stunted by providing him/her with a well-balanced diet that includes food that’s low in saturated fats, sugar content, and sodium, and yet rich in essential vitamins and minerals. You can do this by preparing and providing them with delicious yet nutritious dishes that include green, leafy vegetables, and even meats.
On the other hand, getting your kids to eat three full and complete meals every day can be a problem especially for picky eaters. Although selective eating in kids generally resolve as they age and mature, it can still drive parents crazy with worry if their kids are getting the nutrients needed to grow and thrive. So a good way for moms to ensure that their kids are getting enough “growth” nutrients is by giving them a glass of Pediasure Plus every day. Pediasure Plus is a complete, balanced nutritional supplement with Triple Protein Complex made especially for children above 3 years old. It is clinically proven to help kids achieve visible growth in just 8 weeks, contains 40% more energy nutrients compared to other toddler formula milk in the market, and contains Synbiotics — a special combination of prebiotics and probiotics (good bacteria) that helps reduce sick days.
Busy moms can now easily get their child’s Pediasure Plus anytime, anywhere, thanks to Lazada. Just sign up, log in, and cart your child’s milk via the Lazada site or Lazada app and Pediasure Plus will be delivered straight to your doorsteps. Definitely a big help for mamas!
*Always seek the direct advice of a medical professional for any health issues or concerns. Plus, the use of any milk products for children 3 years old and up should always be upon the recommendation of your Pediatrician.
Published with Pediasure Plus.