Children may sometimes have to deal with problems that hinder their growth during their development years. There are many factors that cause these problems and in severe cases, they can develop into growth disorders. One of the main causes is malnutrition due to an unbalanced diet.
A child’s diet is the most important factor in their physical development. A diet lacking essential nutrients can cause growth problems. It's important to make sure children eat a wide variety of foods: different foods provide different nutrients, and the more varied the foods, the richer the nutrient intake becomes. Protein is very important because it is the main nutrient for building and repairing muscle, bone and skin tissue, which grow continuously during childhood years1. Therefore, children should be given a protein-rich diet: fish, meat, eggs, nuts and milk are all good choices.
Another important factor for their development is physical activity. When paired with a well-balanced and adequate diet, physical activity further stimulates bone and muscle growth. Participating in sports during growth and adolescence can promote growth and have many positive effects such as the development of strong bones and muscles, the improvement of fitness and motor skills, therefore increasing self-confidence and self-esteem, as well as the development of social skills2. Promoting physical activity combined with a diverse diet that contains a variety of protein-rich foods will help children’s growth and development.
- World Health Organization (WHO) [webpage]*. Geneva. World Health Organization; 2018 [last access on 10th of August 2018]. "Stunting in a nutshell." Available on: http://www.who.int/nutrition/healthygrowthproj_stunted_videos/en/
- Desmond C, Casale D. "Catch-up growth in stunted children: Definitions and predictors." Schooling CM, ed. PLoS ONE. 2017; 12 (12): e0189135.