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How is Stunting Stunted

As stunting is an irreversible malnutrition indicator, it is only prevented, not cured. Stunting is caused by cumulative factors affecting the totality of a child’s growth. According to World Health Organization (WHO) it is “impaired growth and development that children experience from poor nutrition, repeated infection, and inadequate psychosocial stimulation.” Being able to identify these factors will give you more opportunity to prevent the onset of stunting.

Here are 8 Practical Tips to help your child win over stunting:

1. Practice proper hygiene & sanitation
The first line of defense against the onset of Stunting is Proper Hygiene and Sanitation. In fact, a simple proper handwashing can wipe away many diseases and other illnesses. With proper hygiene and sanitation, intestinal illnesses, such as acute diarrhea and intestinal worms, are being prevented. Intestinal Illnesses often lead to reoccurring infections that might lead to severe malnutrition.

2. Drink clean and potable water
Water is an essential component in our day-to-day life. Providing clean and potable water for your children (especially for babies) will ensure healthy gut and digestive system. This will prevent your child from catching diarrhea, amoebiasis, and other diseases. Experiencing digestive track illnesses will weaken a child’s body, bringing its immune system down, and making it prone to other illnesses.

3. Exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months
It is recommended to give breastmilk exclusively for the first six months. Breastmilk is packed with complete nutrients essential of a child’s growth. Giving it exclusively in the first six months will enable the child to gain its maximum growth potential.

4. Healthy and balanced meals everyday
For babies beyond 6 months, it is also recommended to introduce whole foods (such as mashed potatoes, cereals, etc.) to complement milk feeding. Pinggang Pinoy® offers a definitive layout on what and how to feed your children with complete, varied, and balanced food ensuring intake of essential nutrients needed for your child’s growth and development.

5. Macro and micronutrients for growth & development
It is also important to know that there are specific nutrients that parents should focus on to ensure proper growth and development. Parents tend to give the usual soup and rice meal for their kids which gives inadequate nutrients. Incorporate high quality protein such as eggs, chicken, and beef to ensure muscle development. Remember to give milk regularly to your child to support bone structure as your child grows.

6. Take enough sleep
Taking enough sleep enables his body to recharge and be cleanse out for a new day’s activity. Taking adequate rest will strengthen his immune system in fighting diseases and viruses. Achieving right amount of sleep also helps in muscle growth and tissue repair that is needed by a child engaging in physical activity. It is also essential in the production of growth hormone needed by a growing child to achieve adequate height-for-age.

7. Practice proper posture
Practicing how to sit, stand, and walk with proper posture is a must to be taught even for a child at a very young age. This practice lessens the risk of bone related ailments that might accumulate as your child grows. Proper posture complements the function of calcium and other nutrients in making the bone structure strong and firm to support proper growth.

8. Engage in physical and social activities
It is usual for a child to be very active at times. Physical activity enables your child’s muscles and bones to function well and be strengthened. Also, research shows that stunted children experiences anxiety, low self-esteem, and other psychological ailments compared to other children. Regular engagement in physical and social interactions, complemented with proper nutrition, ensures optimum growth and development for your child.

If your child experiences signs of stunting, do not hesitate to contact your pediatrician or go to the nearest health center for your child to be checked. It is essential to address a serious malnutrition problem before it is too late. Effect of stunting in a growing child is irreversible and permanent.

More than the lifestyle, food also plays a significant role in the fight against stunting. This nutrition month, watch out for our healthy and nutrient-rich recipes that will help you in the fight against stunting. Stay tuned, ka-Cookmunity®!

References

Walker, SP. et al. 2007. Early Childhood Stunting is Associated with Poor Psychological Functioning in Late Adolescence and Effects are Reduced by Psychosocial Stimulation. Journal of Nutrition, Volume 137, Issue 11, Pages 2464 – 2469. University of Oxford, Oxford, England.

World Health Organization. Stunting in a Nutshell. Childhood Stunting: Context, Causes, and Consequences. The Healthy Growth Project by World Health Organization.

Food and Nutrition Research Institute. 2015. Pinggang Pinoy® for Kids. Pinggang Pinoy® Healthy food plate for Filipinos. Department of Science and Technology – Food and Nutrition Research Institute. DOST Compound, Bicutan, Taguig City.

Tham, E. et al. 2017. Infant Sleep and its relation with Cognition and Growth: A Narrative Review. Dove Medical Press Limited. Singapore.

ChristianJosephBaluyot_AjinomotoCulinaryNutritionist

Christian Joseph S. Baluyot, RND is AJINOMOTO PHILIPPINES CORPORATION’s Junior Specialist for Culinary Nutrition. He develops recipe, conducts nutrition research and provides nutrition information as a licensed nutritionist-dietitian. Jhay graduated at the Manila Tytana Colleges with a Bachelor’s Degree in Holistic Nutrition with Culinary Arts. 

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