Personally, I am a big fan of Sigmund Freud and his theory of different stages of child developemt. I was first influenced by the some of the theories of his when I encountered his psychoanalytical theories on Google. And, I was really impressed the way he tried to correlate the psychological development of a child with its needs and demands in different stages.
Today on 8th of May, 2016, I got a chance to attend #Immunity4Growth meeting by GSK group and Indiblogger. Little did I know that throughout the entire event I would be jibing upon the theory of Sigmund Freud with real world examples.
After the registration process and the introduction, the presentation by Dr. jill castle, a childhood nutrition expert, on the role of micronutrients in immunity was becoming more interesting with more slides flashing over the screen.
On human psychological reactions part, the crowd which was having chit-chat went serious with the issues presented by her for Indian kids. Which surely raised a question on our minds, especially mothers, Is your young one on track?
Micronutrients status of children: India vs Global
This day being a mother’s day furthers fueled in more interests among us as some of us were proud mothers as well. Some of the facts and figures which were presented before us about Indian kids were:
- India has the largest number of Vitamin A deficient children in the world with 130,000 children dying directly or indirectly due to this issue.
- Nearly 206 million school-aged children suffer from insufficient Iodine intake and currently, India has the highest number of children vulnerable to Iodine-deficiency.
- 30 % of the developing world’s children suffer from micronutrient deficiencies.
- There is a high prevalence of zinc deficiency in Indian school going children because of the high requirement of this micronutrient during development.
Well, these are some of the figures which talk about deficiencies but the problem is rather more complex. For example, certain deficiency of micronutrients can affect the child mentally, physically and emotionally for life long if they are not taken care of within a limited period.
For example, just a mere deficiency of Iodine can lead up to fetal hypothyroidism and mental impairment. This list could even grow longer.
In simple terms, Hidden hunger is a lack of vitamins and minerals in our children diet when their diets do not meet their nutrient requirements which they need for their growth.
Here is how Dr. jill tried to explain this:
[su_quote]Breakfast is very important for the school-going children because a breakfast starts their day. A cup of milk and a few slices of bread might not be sufficient for them to meet the need of the required nutrients for their development. Though a child might look healthy outside but that’s not a surety that the child is strong inside as well. [/su_quote]
So how does hidden hunger put adverse affect on our child health?
- Hidden hunger problem leads to the weakening of the immunity system of a child.
- As a consequence, a child may go through frequent and regular illness
- Poor or delayed physical and brain development
- Potential of chronical illness later in life.
Hidden Hunger in Indian context:
Since our country has a different lifestyle and food pattern, some of the ‘on top of it’ factors which further affect our children in terms of hidden hunger are:
- Largely vegetarian lifestyle
- cereal-pulse based food
- Affordability of dairy and meat
- Faulty cooking practices like repeated boiling of milk
- increasing intake of refined and processed foods
In simpler terms, due to the nature of the food we take, we mostly miss out fruits and meat (because of affordability). Moreover, the trend of ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat food are making out children more deficient in micronutrients.
For example, Just Paranthe might not be a suitable breakfast for a school going kid. Because it is still deficient in a lot of micronutrients which a kid needs for all-around growth.
Our roles in fighting the micronutrient deficiencies:
Role of parents (Especially mother)
A mother can largely influence the eating habit of her kids. Parents can make sure that their kids are not much attracted towards the fast food and are getting necessary micronutrients in their meals.
Role of teachers & school
Teachers can also play a major role in identifying a student with the low concentration, low disease defense, and poor energy levels. Schools can also promote healthy lunchboxes and guidelines to parents. It can also be further taken care by regular and organized health checkups at schools.
Later, from a representative from Horlicks, we came to know about some of more shocking truths about the kids of India. Here is the chart:
This IMRB survey was explained by Omar Khan. He talked about how vital nutrients of Horlicks provide growth and development. Different educational and engagement program that Horlicks had conducted even in the rural part of the India.
The best part of the meet was the Panel discussion when all of the experts stepped over to the dash and discussed the nutrition, micronutrients and child development. Which was followed by the questions from the audience. Some of the facts that came from during the questionnaire round was:
Some of the facts that came from during the questionnaire round was:
- Horlicks is also working in the rural part of India through educational and engagement program.
- Kids like to drink more than eat. So for example, five cups of broccoli equal one cup of milk in terms of some nutrients, I guess calcium. So in this case, it is easier to offer a kid a cup of milk to drink than make them eat five cups of broccoli.
- There are different stages of development for a child. For example, during the first year, a child can gain much weight from 3 kg to 9 to 10 kgs. However, in the second year that might not happen so a mother should not worry too much about the same.
- Besides personal factors which are under our control, environmental factors cannot be controlled like pollution or allergies.
- A kid might look healthy and strong from outside even an obese kid but what is needed the most is that the kid should be strong inside as well. Maybe that’s why, at the meet, they talked more about “Strong Inside, Growth Outside”.
- You might be surprised to know that 82% of the Indian children suffer from the deficiency of Selenium, another important micronutrient and one among those 23.
At the end, I realized that it was a remarkable and a herculean initiative that was taken by Horlicks. They are even trying to reach places where the purchasing power is lesser in the form of sachets.
Today, on this great day of Mother’s day, every mother should ask them to within “Is your young one on track?”. Let’s take a vow to get the future of India on track.