How to prevent malnutrition in children – VnExpress

Adhering to a nutritionally complete and balanced diet during pregnancy can help prevent stunting from being born.

According to Assoc. Prof. TS.BS Le Bach Mai (former Deputy Director of the National Institute of Nutrition; Medical Director of the North, Nutrihome Nutrition Clinic System), stunting is most common in children under 5 years of age. . This is a condition in which the body lacks nutrients and energy, thereby adversely affecting activities and physical and brain growth.

In order to help children recover and develop normally, Assoc. Prof. TS.BS Le Bach Mai recommends that parents need to accurately determine the cause of malnutrition in their children to choose appropriate care and treatment methods.


Pregnancy stage: Maternal nutrition during pregnancy is deficient or unbalanced among the main groups of substances (protein, fat, starch, vitamins and minerals) which is one of the leading causes of fetal malnutrition and newborn babies. prematurity, low birth weight and lasts until birth.

Prevention and treatment of child malnutrition should begin during pregnancy. Photo: Shutterstock

The first 6 months of life: Children aged 0-6 months who are not breastfed often have a high rate of malnutrition. However, there are also cases of children who are breastfed but still suffer from stunting and malnutrition. This may be due to the mother’s unscientific diet after giving birth leading to a lack of milk, a lack of quality breast milk… not meeting the nutritional needs of the baby for growth.

Weaning phase: Parents giving children solid foods too early or too late, eating at the wrong age, unbalanced diet with nutrients, improper food processing… can also affect physical and mental development child’s brain.

To ensure children’s comprehensive development, prevent and improve stunting, Assoc.

During pregnancy, the mother should follow a complete and balanced nutritional diet from groups of substances: carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals. The specific regimen needs to be consulted by a doctor depending on each pregnant woman’s case.

After birth, the mother should exclusively breastfeed the baby for at least the first 6 months of life. Breastfed babies will develop healthy, less susceptible to infections such as diarrhea, malabsorption, respiratory infections, iron deficiency, anemia, effectively prevent malnutrition.

If the mother’s milk is deficient in nutrients, it does not meet the nutritional requirements for the child’s development, the mother can take a breast milk test to determine whether the nutritional content in the milk is sufficient or lacking. The doctor will advise on appropriate nutritional treatment to help breast milk achieve the highest quality.

When children enter the weaning stage, parents need to pay attention to feeding their children with a variety of nutrients and ensuring hygiene, such as eating cooked food, drinking boiled and cooled water; After the food is finished cooking, it should be given to the child immediately. Do not let it cool for more than 3 hours. Selecting fresh, clean, food-safe and hygienic foods and properly processing and preserving them helps to prevent some diseases of food poisoning, diarrhea…

Children eat nutritious foods to help prevent malnutrition.  Photo: Shutterstock

Children eat nutritious foods to help prevent malnutrition. Photo: Shutterstock

Children with malnutrition are often accompanied by symptoms of picky eating, digestive disorders, and poor resistance. At this time, parents need to pay special attention to how to nurture and care for them. Instead of giving children too much food in one meal, parents should divide them into many small meals, each meal a little to provide enough needed energy. Children 1-2 years old in addition to breastfeeding need to feed 4 more meals per day. Children 3-5 years old need to eat about 5-6 meals a day.

In the daily diet for malnourished children, parents should ensure a balance of groups of substances and a variety of foods to help children avoid anorexia.

In addition, Associate Professor. TS.BS Le Bach Mai also encouraged parents to create conditions for children to exercise, sunbathe outdoors, get enough rest and on time. Practice for children the habit of keeping personal hygiene, when sick, take proper care and timely treatment… to help children get rid of stunting effectively and achieve goals quickly.

“Nutrition is an important factor to help prevent and determine the effectiveness of treatment for stunting in children. Therefore, parents should make a proper investment in their children’s daily diet. Parents need to take their children to the doctor, do in-depth tests, help detect exactly how the child is malnourished, what the body is lacking, in excess… From there, the doctors will advise , appointing effective treatment of malnutrition for children”, emphasized Assoc. Prof. TS.BS Le Bach Mai.

Nguyen Pham


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