Pune: As we celebrated Children's Day early this week, it was seen through reports, studies and surveys that all is not well for children. Experts, doctors, stakeholders, parents, teachers and others are worrying about the poor health of children.
Golwilkar Metropolis conducted a study in the city, which revealed that eight out of 10 persons in Pune suffer from lack of Vitamin D. Despite it being a tropical country, and having abundant sunlight, Vitamin D deficiency has hit a new low in the country. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to bone mineralisation, turning into bone softening diseases. Rickets, for example, is common in children with severe deficiency and conditions like osteomalacia and osteoporosis in adults.
Kids these days prefer staying indoors playing digital games rather than kicking a football on a playground. Consumption of adulterated and processed foods also weaken our bodies, resulting in insufficient synthesis of Vitamin D.
Data analysis was carried out of over 1,29,919 samples tested by Golwilkar Metropolis at Pune. Dr Sushil Shah, Chairman, Golwilkar Metropolis Healthcare said, “The cases of patients suffering from Vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency have been steadily rising in India. Majority of the population is not aware that they suffer from Vitamin D deficiency and symptoms such as fatigue and aches are ignored. There is a clear need for supplementing the diet.”
He added, “Vitamin D is also found in certain foods which need to be included in the daily diets like fish, beef, liver and egg yolk. Vegetarians can consume almond, milk, soy milk, orange juice, cereals and mushrooms and ensure exposure to sunlight.”
Visibly healthy children could be deficient in key nutrients
Often termed as hidden hunger, under-nutrition is a roadblock in physical and cognitive development of children. Vitamin A, iodine, folate, zinc and iron deficiencies during 1,000 days of life, from conception to the second birthday, could cause serious and irreversible damage to the child’s cognitive and physical development.
“Hidden hunger is a term used for micro-nutrient deficiency, like Vitamin A, iodine, iron and zinc. Children with these decencies may look healthy but fail to achieve optimum cognitive and physical growth. That is why it is necessary to watch the food the child is eating,” says Dr Lalit Rawal, MD, HOD, Pediatric, Ruby Hall Clinic, Pune.
"Even children from affluent families and having good body weight suffer from micronutrient deficiencies. Many parents are not aware of the actual amount of micro-nutrients,” said Dr Shirish Kankariya, Pediatrician, Inamdar Hospital.
“Consider the importance of micro-nutrients during early childhood and the fact that it is almost impossible to meet their recommended intake with breast milk and traditional food. Fortified foods are designed to meet baby’s nutritional requirement while staying compatible with their taste buds.”
To rule out micronutrient deficiency until the child celebrates his second birthday it is important that parents should be aware of a proper nutrient guide.