Is your child demonstrating a hunger to grow?

The age of five to fourteen is a vital time for any child. This is the crucial duration at which theystart learning from their childhood activities. A child’s significant mental and physical development usually occurs during this period as the exhibit a strong hunger to grow during this phase. Therefore, it is important that the childhood activities that they do at this stage contributes enough towards their mental and physical health. A lifelong mental and physical foundation is created during this time, hence, parents are required to be more aware of their child’s activities.

Few children exhibit lack of willingness and curiosity towards healthy activities necessary for their growth and development. In such a case, emulation of elder siblings, parents and others who are in the company of children is a regular scenario. While certain children are curious to know more and ask many questions to parents or sibling which should be encouraged as it builds their cognitive functions. The technology based sedentary lifestyle is catching up on children as well and seeing more and more children playing games on phones/laptops instead of playgrounds/parks. . Due to lack of activities which requires physical and mental exertion, might impact a child’s health which sometimes surface at a latter age as well.

The remedy of this situation is engaging them through a combination of physical & mental activities. Such activities lead to development of children’s abilities and engage them in fun-filled enjoyment at the same time.  The children need to involve in playful childhood activities which are healthy enough to build their social and motor skills.These activities can help muscles, bones and joints development and increase their learning capacity.  In this context, a child’s eating habit significantly impacts the physical and mental growth.
Be it giving their best in a round of cricket, being hungry to gain knowledge about diverse range of topics or craving to explore the world- children display this hunger to grow only when they are healthy and have the proper mental and physical health.

Presumably, what constitutes a “balanced diet” for a mother is the home cooked healthy food she puts on her child’s plate. The lesser known fact is that a balanced diet is the amount of intake of crucial vitamins and minerals which are needed for healthy growth of a child. Unfortunately, parents often are not aware of the symptoms of hidden hunger. A pediatric study in Mumbai of 111 urban affluent mothers found that more than half were unable to tell if their children were under or overweight, and attributed this to Indian mothers’ general perception of a chubby baby as healthy.

Different type of protein enriched food along with malted drinks can be a good option to meet the nutrition requirements and fuel the hunger for growth. Therefore, to induce this hunger to grow and their willingness to engage with the various experience of life, it is essential that first and foremost children have their nutritional requirements met which promotes proper wellbeing and health.

Nujhat Manzoor
Clinical Dietician
Diet & Nutrition Dept.
Square Hospitals Ltd.