Malnourishment in children is mainly caused by the children being fed diet that lacks nutrients. In most cases, it is just not out of poverty, but also due to lack of knowledge or inability of the parents concerning nutrition.
Carbohydrates, minerals, protein, vitamins and fat make up most of the nutrients which the body needs for protection from several diseases and sickness, they also provide energy for the body.
Just like a computer phrase, “garbage in, garbage out”, what we eat is what makes us. If a child is being fed the wrong diet, he/she will end up being malnourished and this often leads to retarded growth, but a well fed child, nutrient-wise, is always a healthy baby and that is what makes a happy family.
What is a balanced diet? A balanced diet is one that contains at least 50-60% carbohydrates, 15-25% fats, 15-18% proteins, vitamins and minerals.
Sources of Nutrients:
Carbohydrates: Potatoes, cereals, bananas, chestnuts, honey.
Minerals: Mothers’ breast milk, cow milk, cheese
Protein: Milk, fish, meat, soya beans, eggs.
Vitamins: Wholemeal cereals, legumes, fruits, vegetables.
Fats: Margarine, butter, chocolate, peanuts, walnuts, milk.
Effects of lack of these nutrients:
a. A diet that lacks carbohydrate results in the body lacking the ability to resist infections.
b. A diet that lacks minerals results in nervous breakdown, growth retardation and rickets.
c. A diet that lacks protein results in obesity, bloating of the ankles and legs.
d. A diet that lacks Vitamins results in skin disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, mental and nervous problems.