Nutrition

Well balanced and adequate nutritional intake is essential to maintaining positive health status.

Recommended diet

•    Adequate intake of fruits and vegetables (at least five servings per day)
•    Whole grains, high in fiber including rice, potatoes, or bread
•    Protein sources including meat, nuts, fish, and eggs
•    Dairy products including yogurt and low-fat milk options if possible
•    Adequate water intake, at least 2 liters per day
•    Limit intake of saturated fat (butter, oil, fatty meat), sugar, and salt

Lack of adequate nutrition

Malnutrition is the lack of adequate nutrition, either as a result of imbalances, deficiencies, or excesses in a person's intake of food and nutrients. This can be due to eating too little, eating an improper diet, or having a medical condition that results in the body being unable to use food and nutrients. Malnutrition can also refer to over nutrition and obesity and is the condition of being poorly nourished.
In cases of undernutrition, children may show slow growth, failure to thrive, developmental delays, behavioral changes (including decreased attention), and muscle wasting. Symptoms of tiredness, fatigue, slow wound healing, and even loss of appetite may occur.

Various forms of malnutrition

There are 4 broad sub-forms of undernutrition: wasting, stunting, underweight, and deficiencies in vitamins and minerals

  • Low weight-for-height is known as wasting
  • Low height-for-age is known as stunting
  • Children with low weight-for-age are known as underweight

How to avoid malnutrition

The best way to prevent malnutrition is to eat a healthy, balanced diet including:
Adequate intake of fruit and vegetables
Adequate intake of bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and other starchy foods

Milk and dairy products

•    Some meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy sources of protein
•    Minimum dietary diversity (consumption of four or more food items out of seven food groups)

It is also important to emphasize timely introduction of nutritious and frequent complementary feeding at six months of age without delay.

Recommended meal frequency to combat malnutrition

Breastfed infants and young children

1.    6-8 months: 2 times per day
2.    9-23 months: 3 times per day

Non-breastfed infants and young children

1.    6-23 months: 4 times per day

Support for malnutrition

•    Attend ANC and PNC and take iron and folic acid supplementation
•    Family care practices at health centres or villages during the monthly growth monitoring to check whether the child is growing well
•    Attend cooking demonstration sessions at village level
•    Attend health centres and receive free micronutrients powder for your child 6 months-2 years

Promotion of best practices for adequate nutrition

•    Breastfeeding
•    Complimentary feeding
•    Hand washing

Provision of micronutrients for young children

•    Vitamin A supplementation for children 6–59 months of age
•    Micronutrient supplementation for children 6–59 months of age
•    Deworming
•    Iron and folic acid supplementation for pregnant women