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A Child Nutrition Concern - Obesity and Malnutrition


Child nutrition has become a very popular subject in the past few years. Obesity among children is rampant. And so is malnutrition.

You should consult your child’s physician about matters which concerns your child’s nutrition. What the doctor does is to compare the height and weight of your child with that of other children.


There is a growing percentage of overweight children in America. Today’s children have very little time for exercise or barely have any time at all. They spend most of their time watching television or playing computers video games. Even parents have no time to make their childrens nutritious meals. The trend now with most families is to go out and eat in fast-food restaurants.

A child is considered overweight if he or she has a body mass index (BMI) at or above 95th percentile for age and sex. The BMI has four categories, namely:

- overweight

- at risk for overweight

- normal weight

- underweight

If you have an overweight child, your doctor will normally ask about his eating habits and make some recommendations on making positive changes. You may be referred to a dietician or undergo a comprehensive weight program. This will depend on your child’s status.

There are certain risks of being overweight.

1. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, abnormal blood lipid levels, type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance

2. Bone, joint problems

3. Sleep disorders, restlessness

4. Shortness of breath

5. Matures earlier

6. Depression

7. Diseases of the liver and gall bladder

Treating or preventing obesity among children reduces their risk of having these conditions.


Malnutrition may be associated with hunger. Malnourished people lack essential nutrients for proper development and health. They are most likely to be sick and if worst comes to worst, die.

According to the World Health Organization, one out of seven people get hungry. Families with not much food to eat are at risk of malnutrition.

Malnutrition causes many health problems. People who are hungry all the time are likely underweight.

Other people become malnourished because of a certain disease or condition. An example is a child suffering from cystic fibrosis, a condition wherein the body can not absorb the nutrients because the pancreas is affected. Pancreas produces enzymes necessary for digestion.

Malnutrition may affect people of various ages, infants, toddlers and even adolescents.
Older ones may be malnourished because of an illness or aging.

Here are some indicators of malnutrition:

- low energy and tiredness

- poor function of the immune system

- dizziness

- slow reaction time or can’t pay attention

- underweight

- weakness of the muscles

- poor growth

- bloated stomach

- scaly/dry skin

- bleeding and swollen gums

- painful joints

- decaying teeth

- organ function problems in severe cases

- osteoporosis

The information that the doctor gives is not enough. You, as parents, should learn more about proper child nutrition. Begin by educating yourself on healthy/good eating habits and on how you will teach that to your children.

Learn to make better choices while shopping. Read labels of products.

If your doctor advised your child to begin a program of exercise, make sure that it is integrated in your nutrition plans.

Study your child’s behavior, why he overeats or why they do not eat much. Be sure to prevent this from happening.

You should regularly consult with your doctor.

Christine Gray is a recognized authority on the subject of parenting. Her website Parenting Exposed provides a wealth of informative articles and resources on everything you will need to know about children food. All rights reserved. Articles may be reprinted as long as the content and links remains intact and unchanged.


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