NUTRITION is an essential element in the body. With proper nutrition, the body will be fresh, and we can do activities well. Nutrition must be fulfilled precisely since I was a child, because nutrition besides being important for body growth, is also crucial for brain development. For this reason, parents must understand the nutritional needs of the child well so that children do not experience malnutrition. In addition, parents also need to know what and how to lack nutrition.
Sign of malnutrition
According to Dr. Sri Kurniati M.S., Medical Nutrition Doctor at Harapan Kita Children’s Hospital and Maternity Hospital, malnutrition in children is divided into three:
First, it is called Light Protein Energy Deficiency. At this stage, Sri explained that there were no specific signs that could be clearly seen. It’s just that, the child’s weight only reaches 80 percent of average body weight.
Second, it is referred to as Medium Protein Energy Deficiency. At this stage, the child’s weight only reaches 70 percent of normal body weight. Besides, there is a sign that can be seen clearly, the face becomes pale, and the hair color changes slightly reddish.
Third, it is called Heavy Protein Energy Deficiency. In this section it is divided into two, which is very little, usually called Marasmus. The sign of this marasm is that the child’s weight only reaches 60 percent or less than average body weight. Apart from marasmus, there is another called Kwashiorkor. In kwashiorkor, besides weight, several other signs can be directly seen. Among other things, the legs are swollen, hair is red and easily removed, then due to lack of vitamin A, the eyes become myopic, the cornea experiences dryness, and sometimes ulcers occur in the cornea, so the eyes can rupture. In addition to these signs or symptoms, there are also other signs, such as an illness. The accompanying diseases, for example, are anemia or lack of blood, infection, frequent diarrhea, skin crusting, and rupture so that the fluid comes out, and cracks in the corners of the mouth.
Malnutrition in children can occur at the age of five (under five years). “The guideline for knowing malnourished children is to look at the weight and height that is less than normal,” said Sri. Sri added, if the child’s height does not continue to increase or less than usual, it indicates that malnutrition in the child has been going on for a long time.
Factors that cause malnutrition
Sri explained, several factors cause child malnutrition:
First, the distance between the age of brother and sister who are too close influences. Thus, the mother’s attention to the older sister has been seized by the presence of her sister, so that the older siblings tend to be neglected and not cared for the food. Therefore, finally, the older brother becomes malnourished. “Toddlers are passive consumers; they cannot take care of themselves, especially to eat,” said Sri.
Secondly, children who can walk are easily infected or are also infected by other diseases.
The third is because the environment is not clean, so children are easily sick. Because of these illnesses, children become malnourished.
Fourth, the lack of knowledge of parents, especially mothers about nutrition. “Pure malnutrition is due to food,” Sri said. According to Sri, the mother must be able to provide food with sufficient nutritional content. “It doesn’t have to be expensive, it can also be given cheap food, provided the quality is good,” continued Sri. Therefore, the mother must be smart to choose food for children.
Fifth, difficult socio-economic conditions of the family. This factor affects quite a lot, because if children rarely eat, they will automatically be malnourished.
Sixth, other than due to food, malnourished children can also be due to a congenital disease that forces children to be treated. For example congenital heart and lung disease.
Efforts must be made
If malnutrition, children will quickly be exposed to various diseases, malnourished children, will recover in a long time. Thus this condition will also affect the development of children’s intelligence. For that, for children who are experiencing malnutrition, efforts must be made to improve nutrition.
These efforts include increasing the knowledge of parents about nutrition, treating the child by providing food that can make the child’s nutritional status better. Thus, the selection of good food for the child must be done. According to Sri, good food is food with good quantity and quality.
Food with a good quantity is the food given according to the needs of the child. For example, feeding the child how many dishes a day is according to his needs. And it would be better if you give vitamins and protein through milk. For families who are not able, can work around this,
for example, replace milk with eggs. Then, foods of good quality are foods that contain all nutrients, including protein, carbohydrates, iron, and minerals. Last resort is to treat comorbidities.