The Long-Term Effects of Poor Nutrition in Early Childhood
Childhood is a critical stage that requires healthy physical and intellectual growth. Poor nutrition in early childhood is a world-wide phenomenon resulting from insufficient nutrients for healthy growth. Children can suffer from either over nutrition or undernutrition, leading to poor physical and mental growth. Weight loss, irregular growth, and obesity are among the features of poor nutrition. According to a study by Alshammari, Suneetha, Adnan, Khan, & Allazeh (2017), though cases of underweight children and children with stunted growth due to poor nutrition have declined since 1990, the overall progress is slow. Consequently millions of children are at risk of poor development with potential long-term effects. These children are vital future assets; and their physical and mental well-being should be adequately taken care of. Several comprehensive research into the long-term effects of poor nutrition among children have been conducted. These studies enlighten people about malnutrition and the need for monitoring and keeping track of children’s development., Three scholarly journal articles about the importance of nutrition in enhancing children’s health have been reviewed.
Article 1:Long-Term Health Status of Children Recovering from Acute Malnutrition
Briend and Berkley (2016) study on severe malnutrition in childhood, suggested an early intervention to prevent potential long-term effects. They further posit on the advantages of community-based treatment programs for this acute condition. They also point out that the long-term effects of acute malnutrition may not be connected only to the episode of malnutrition, but to other factors as well, like, , stunted growth may be connected to gene factor. However, malnutrition in mothers is considered to be a main cause for stunted growth in children . Low birthweight can put a child at a risk of the effects of malnutrition. Good nutrition is an important factor to consider in childhood . .,. The article asserts that children who are under treatment for malnutrition are not always free from the long term effects. This is because of a deficit of lean tissue which results in abnormal body composition. Lean tissue may not be recovered during treatment of acute malnutrition, or in the months following treatment. This may be due to lack of nutrients required for the growth of lean tissue, and although the foods provided during the treatment have high-fat content, it may not be enough. The findings from this study concur with findings from other studies that that poor nutrition during and after treatment may be due to underestimation of important nutrients like proteins and zincs, and therefore, in order to ensure full recovery, these nutrients should be adequately included in the diet of the patients.
The article also focuses on the treatment method of acute malnutrition and its outcome. According to the authors, children treated for malnutrition still reveal the long term effects like poor performance in school, which is a big concern (Briend & Berkley, 2016). The article covers not just the effects of poor nutrition, but also captures the seriousness of the matter and the need to properly treat it for full recovery. It suggests further research on the issue of treatment of malnutrition to ensure that the disease is adequately managed and poor outcomes of treatment avoided. The article calls for quality treatment of children affected by malnutrition and advocates for them to have a normal life.
Article 2: The Effect of Early Life Factors and Early Interventions on Childhood Overweight and Obesity 2016
Wen, Rissel,& He, (2017) in this article, mention that theprevalence of childhood obesity is high, and if the trend continues, the number of obese children may rise up to 70 million by 2025.(). The article suggests early intervention programs in combating this disease. The authors include parents as essential parties in controlling childhood obesity, asserting that parents should be educated on structuring a good diet for their children, and should have knowledge regarding obesity intervention strategies. The study investigates the influence of the style of feeding of children of low-income families, and observed the outcome over time. 129 Latina parents participated with their children. Eighteen months later, the weights of the children were assessed. Wen, Rissel,& He ( 2017) found that children of families engaged in indulgent feeding styles showed increased weight (). The article links obesity to poor physical and psychological health. According to the study, child obesity is caused by various factors which are defined by higher energy intake combined with low energy expenditure. The primary causes of obesity are lifestyle preferences and cultural environment. Obese children usually consume high-energy foods without engaging in energy consuming activities. With food becoming more affordable in the U.S. and escalating growth of fast food chains, children have increased intake of food items with high calorie content, The study shows that of late, physical activity has been declining leading to increasing sedentary behaviour like watching television instead of geting involved in physical activity.
The authors caution everybody involved with obese kids to incorporate intervention measures in the children’s lives to control obesity. According to the article, teachers should iintroduce physical activities in classroom to help children burn calories in their bodies and keep them fit. Parents are asked to make use of articles and theories on nutrition provided on the internet to learn about good nutrition intakes for their children and employ these theories at a family level. They are also asked to promote good nutrition for the first 1000 days of their children’s lives. The article finds early intervention strategies as the key to countering the trend of obesity among children. The focus of this article is to draw the attention of parents and teacher and all people involved with children to realise that childhood obesity is risky and may have long term effects which put the children’s lives in danger, and thus interventions should be carried out as early as possible.
Article 3: Growth Profile compared to nutrient intakein Hail Region of Saudi Arabia
Alshammari et al. (2017) in their article on growth profile compared to nutrient intake discuss growth profiles in children and young people in Saudi Arabia, particularly in the city of Hail. Saudi Arabia is associated with high obesity levels throughout its geography, and the issue is especially prevalent in the Hail region. The study aims at estimating growth patterns in children as compared to their nutrient intake. Those growth profiles include stunting, underweight, wasting and obesity. The study conducted a cross-sectional survey in Hail region involving 1420 children and adolescents by use of a muti-stage stratified sampling technique. From the results, 5.91% of the studied population were found to be underweight, 9.24% were found to be stunted, and 8.89% were deemed wasted .Overweight girls and boys aged between 5 to 18 years comprised 20.8% of the volunteers.. The reason for these poor growth patterns resulted from inadequate intake of critical micronutrients that are required for healthy growth in children.
From the study’s findings, there were several differences in the intake of protein, calcium, potassium, and iron between stunted children and adolescents as compared to normal ones. For example, stunted children and adolescents recorded lower protein levels than the standard. In addition, obese and overweight children showed higher energy intake. The study combined various studies to illustrate the effects of malnutrition and obesity. According to the study, malnutrition is associated with poor physical and intellectual growth, delayed mental development, and poor performance in school. The researchers concluded that the interactions between dietary behaviours, physical activities, and the environment come together in influencing these growth patterns,; hence exploration of these factors is necessary for effective intervention strategies to prevent long-term effects.
The three studies agree on the fact that errant nutrition patterns of children affect their physical and intellectual development. It leads to stunted growth, being overweight or underweight, obesity, and wasting. Poor growth caused by malnutrition persists in adulthood if not detected and treated on time. Poor health affects labour productivity level in adults, and can even lead to death. The causes of such poor growth patterns, according to the three studies, include poor intake of vital nutrients required for healthy growth and environmental factors. The studies recommend intervention strategies including engaging in physical activities, adopting healthy eating habits through intake of necessary nutrients in the required amounts, and reducing sedentary behaviours.
Alshammari, E., Suneetha, E., Adnan, M., Khan, S., & Alazzeh, A. (2017). Growth profile and its association with nutrient intake and dietary patterns among children and adolescents in Hail region of Saudi Arabia. BioMed Research International. Retrieved fromhttps://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2017/5740851/
Briend, A., & Berkley, J. A. (2016). Long term health status of children recovering from severe acute malnutrition. The Lancet Global Health, 4(9), e590-e591. Retrieved from http://thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(16)30152-8/fulltext
Wen, L. M., Rissel, C., & He, G. (2017). The effect of early life factors and early interventions on childhood overweight and obesity. Journal of Obesity. Retrieved from https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jobe/2017/3642818/