Physical Growth/Nutrition

A child’s physical and cognitive growth and development is affected by their nutritional intake. According to the CDC, “children who are not adequately nourished may suffer from long-term medical problems such as heart disease, anemia, or stunted growth.”   The CDC further states that “millions of children around the world lack adequate nutrition” and attributes this to poverty, food insecurity, and lack of access to health care.

Healthy Eating:

The CDC states that eating a healthy diet is crucial for good nutrition/physical growth. The USDA defines a healthy diets as “one that focuses on nutrient-dense foods” which are “low in saturated fat, sugar, salt, cholesterol.” The USDA further lays out dietary guidelines for people of different ages including infants, toddlers children , teens, women during pregnancy and while breastfeeding , men over the age of 70 , etc. Infants may require specific supplements or formulas if they aren’t being breastfed. Pregnant women need more folic acid than other adults to protect their baby against birth defects . For pregnant women at high risk of having a child with Down Syndrome, health care providers may recommend taking an extra 600 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid before and during the first three months of pregnancy.

The food pyramid is designed to give people guidelines on selecting healthy foods that provide them with all their necessary nutrients. It is broken down into six sections, each representing different parts of the diet, ranging from most important(at the top) to least important(at the bottom) . This pyramid was modified slightly in 2005 because for some groups like older adults , it provided too much calcium and not enough vitamin D.

Pediatric Conditions:

There are many conditions/illnesses common among infants, children throughout childhood. Some examples include allergies, asthma, ADHD , etc.

Allergic reactions are very common among infants/children . A study in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that 6 to 8% of children have food allergies . Some forms of severe allergic reactions are caused by anaphylaxis which can lead to death if not treated properly. The CDC has a section on their website dedicated to food allergy education . It provides comprehensive information for parents about managing food allergies including information on prevention , how to respond to an emergency, being prepared at all times, etc.

Asthma is another common condition affecting 25 million Americans including 7 million children under the age of 18. According to Centers for Disease Control and (CDC), asthma may be “one of the most serious public health threats in the United States today.” The CDC states that “more than half a million people with asthma have at least one attack per year requiring a visit to an emergency room or an urgent care center. Each year, about 200,000 Americans are admitted to the hospital because of asthma.”

It is important for parents to understand that children can’t always tell them if they’re having difficulty breathing due to their asthma . According to Safe Kids Worldwide, “if your child has asthma, make sure he or she wears a medical alert bracelet . It’s also wise for kids with severe allergies and/or asthma to be prepared with an epinephrine injection pen , which can relax muscles open airways during an emergency.

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