Nutrition and Infancy

Nutrition is extremely important in the development of a child and their well being. This is the time when a child is learning and moving more than he or she ever will. Nutrition that is healthy and full of vitamins and minerals, helps these children to flourish and grown into a healthy, happy person. When starting out as a little new born baby, we need to make sure that these babies received the best possible nutrition that we can give them. The best possible nourishment for a baby would be that of the mother’s breast milk.

While the mother is pregnant with the baby, the baby is nourished perfectly by its mother’s body and it have been protected by her immune system. Once the baby is born, that is no longer possible of happening. Therefore, once the baby is born, it is recommended that the infant have the mother’s breast milk so that it can maintain the maternal-fetal immunological link after being born. There are many sources of artificial milk available today and most of these say that they are as good as the mother’s milk.

Before modern technology came about the highest cause of infant mortality was due to dehydration due to diarrhea. Most of the infants that died due to dehydration and diarrhea were not breast fed but instead they were the ones that were fed the imitations of breast milk. Pediatrics recommends that parents do not take breast milk from infants until at least 12 months of age. At the age of 12 months is when cow’s milk is usually introduced into the baby’s diet. Early introduction to cow’s milk can make a child suffer from iron deficiency.

(Papalia, 2006) Hunger and malnutrition are two things that are very different but usually go together. A large percentage of people experience hunger and malnutrition in small doses. We all feel hungry from time to time and it is quite possible that we have been malnourished at some points and times in our lives. There are mild and severe conditions when it comes to malnutrition and hungry. Mild is when we feel hungry and may not eat for a few hours or even a day, but severe is when someone has not eaten enough to keep their bodies functioning properly and it can cause many problems and even death.

Studies show that every six seconds a child dies from malnutrition and related causes. (Hunger and Malnutrition, 2011) Two Psychophysiologist, Dykman and Pivik have said that they believe nutritional deficits that occur in early developmental stages may be associated with long term effects on the process of language related information. They studied children and found that children who had not had the best nutrition as babies were slower at learning, especially boys. They were slower at reading, arithmetic and spelling.

They also measured their brainwave responses and the children that had a healthy nutritional background were efficient at processing information that those who were deprived of nutrition. (Core, 2003) Another problem to look at when it comes to children and the right nutrition is childhood obesity. Childhood obesity has become a huge problem in The United States. Obesity among adolescents has gone up rapidly over the last decade and obesity among children aged 2-8 has also rapidly risen.

Obesity among youths seems to affect certain minority groups more than others. African Americans and Mexican Americans are more likely at 23% and 21% than Non-Hispanic Whites at 14% to become obese. Being obese during childhood and adolescence actually increases the risk of developing health problems throughout adulthood. One disease in particular that is widely because of being overweight is type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes has increased dramatically over the last decade in children because of their weight.

When we look at long term obesity as children grow up into young adolescents and adults, we can see that if a child has been overweight throughout their life, they have about a 70% chance of being obese in their adult life and if their parents were obese the percentage actually rises to an 80% chance of being obese in their adult life. In today world, we can see such a huge difference in just 20 years ago. The percentages of children that are obsess to then is astounding. This can possibly be due to the fact that children today play video games and watch television far more than children did just a decade or two ago.

We as parents need to set positive examples for our children. We cannot be obese and eat whatever we want and then try and make our children be the healthy little person that we wish we were. We need to take charge and do what we teach our children. Nutrition is very important to everyone, especially in the early years of life. We as parents need to do the best that we can do to give our children the nutrition that they need. We need to listen to the recommendations of pediatrics and provide our children with the proper foods at the proper times in their lives.

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