Diet/Nutrition

Quadrupling of Pakistan’s population since 1947

Quadrupling of Pakistan's population since 1947

The Average growth rate of Pakistani population is 3.1% with current population Growth rate of 2.06% this means that an addition of 3 million people each year with some undesirable effects such as

Population doubling every 34 years Ever married women with no education 74.9% Population below 15 years 43% People Below Poverty Line 32.6% Unmet family planning need 33% and 80 children dieing of diarrhea every day. A large number about 25% mothers dieing each day from pregnancy and an increase in school age children by 2025 is 60%

Erosion of growth in income by Rapid population growth (1981-2000) 2/3rd Absorption of rapidly increasing uncompetitive labor force doubtful Refugee population 2 +million

Diet

Effects of Diet On the Growing Children

1. Under Nutrition

Even moderate under nutrition can have lasting effects on children’s cognitive development and school performance. Undernourished children attain low scores on standardized achievement tests. Such children have difficulty resisting infections and therefore are more likely to become sick, miss school and to fall behind in class. They are irritable and have difficulty concentrating which can interfere with learning; they have low energy which can limit their physical activity.

2. Iron Deficiency Anemia

Iron deficiency hampers the body’s ability to produce hemoglobin, which is needed to carry oxygen in the blood. This deficiency can increase fatigue, decrease attention span, decrease work capacity, reduce resistance to infections and impair intellectual performance.

3. Overweight and Obesity

Obesity in young persons is related with high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. Some very obese youths suffer from immediate health problems like orthopedic conditions. Obese children are often excluded by the peer groups, experience psychological stress and have a low self-esteem

. Increased physical activity and appropriate caloric intake are recommended for preventing and reducing obesity.

4. Unsafe Weight Loss Methods

Deliberately restricting food intake over long periods can lead to poor growth and delayed sexual development. Young persons involved in certain competitive sports and young girls are particularly at risk of unsafe weight control practices. Children and adolescents should learn about the dangers of such methods and about safe ways to maintain a healthy weight.

5.Eating Disorders

Eating disorders (anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa) are psychological disorders characterized by severe disturbances in eating behavior. Anorexia nervosa is characterized by a refusal to maintain a minimally normal body weight, and bulimia nervosa is characterized by repeated episodes of binge eating followed by compensatory behaviors such as self-induced Vomiting. Eating disorders often start in adolescence, and greater than 90% of cases occur among females.

6. Dental Caries

Dental caries is perhaps the most prevalent of all diseases. It is a progressive disease, which, if left untreated, can result in acute infections, pain, costly treatment and tooth loss. A strong link exists between sugar consumption and dental caries. To prevent dental caries, children and adolescents should drink fluoridated water, use fluoridated toothpaste, brush and floss their teeth regularly, have dental sealants applied to the pits and fissures of their teeth, and consume sugars in moderation.

Childhood Eating Patterns and Chronic Disease Risk

Nutrition education also focuses on preventing children and adolescents from developing chronic diseases during adulthood. High risk eating behaviors and physiological risk factors are difficult to change once they are established during youth. Unhealthy childhood eating habits might lead to the following chronic diseases:

Coronary heart disease Hypertension Stroke Diabetes Overweight Osteoporosis

Characteristics of a well-nourished child

Every mother, teacher and nurse should be aware of the characteristics of a well-nourished child.

Sense of well-being: alert, interested in activities usual for the age, vigorous, happy

Vitality: endurance during activity, quick recovery from fatigue looks rested, does not fall asleep in school, sleeps well at night.

Weight: normal for height built and age.

Posture: erect, arms and legs straight, abdomen pulled in, chest out

Teeth: straight, without crowding in well-shaped jaw

Nails: firm, pink, no sign of bleeding

Skin: smooth, slightly moist, healthy glow, reddish pink mucous membranes.

Eyes: clear, bright, no circles of fatigue around the eyes.

Hair: lustrous, healthy scalp

Muscles: well developed, firm

Nervous control: good attention span for age, gets along well with others, does not cry easily, not irritable and restless.

Gastro-intestinal factors: good appetite, normal regular elimination.

Common Dietary Errors The foods requiring particular emphasis for the improvement of diets are milk, dark green leafy vegetables, whole grain breads and cereals. The food habits that contribute to these deficiencies are:

Poor breakfast or None at all

Lack of appetite, getting up too late in the morning, monotony of breakfast foods, no protein at breakfast and too little fruit.

Poor Lunches Poor menus, poor food preparation, spending lunch money on snacks and other items.

Snacks These account for as much as one fourth of the calories although some do not provide significant amounts of protein, minerals and vitamins. Snacks may be eaten too close to mealtime thus spoiling the appetite.

Overuse of a few foods Teenagers may eat excessive amounts of fast foods and fail to get the essential nutrients.

Self imposed Dieting Especially by teenage girls, more attention is given to the caloric restriction but no consideration is given to protein, minerals and vitamins intake.

Food dislikes This is another reason why certain foods are totally neglected leading to an imbalanced diet.

Establishing Good Food Habits The following considerations are conducive for developing good food habits in the preschool child:

Meals should be served at regular hours in a pleasant environment. Children usually prefer colorful foods. Even favorite foods should not be served too often. Breakfasts should not be stereotyped. New foods should preferably be given at the beginning of the meal when the child is hungry. Encouragement is helpful but favorite foods should not be used as a bribe or reward for taking the new food.

Recommended Energy and Protein Allowances for Children and Teenagers:

Age (years)

Energy Per day

(kcal) Per kg

Protein Per day

(g) Per kg

Children 1-3 4-6 7-10

1300 1700 2400

100 85 85

23 30 34

1.8 1.5 1.2

Boys 11-14 15-18

2700 2800

60 42

45 56

1.0 0.85

Girls 11-14 15-18

2200 2100

48 38

46 46

1.0 0.84

Note: calculations per kilogram body weight are based on mean weights for each category.

Nutrition for School Children

Introduction Healthy eating patterns in childhood and adolescence promote optimal childhood health, growth, and intellectual development; prevent immediate health problems, such as iron deficiency anemia, obesity, eating disorders, and dental caries; and may prevent long-term health problems, such as coronary heart disease, cancer, and stroke. School health programs can help children and adolescents attain full educational potential and good health by providing them with the skills, social support, and environmental reinforcement they need to adopt long-term, healthy eating behaviors. The diet influences the potential for learning as well as the health of young children. Nutrition education refers to a broad range of activities that promote healthy eating behaviors. It is relevant to all components of a comprehensive school health program, for example:

Health education Health services Counseling Psychological and social services Nutrition services