Once upon a time, I was a happy mom. My son would grab a cup of vegetables even while I cut them for cooking. Yes, I mean ‘raw’ vegetables! He would get excited about ‘pink’, ‘orange’ and yellow juices. Yeah, fruit juices! What better could a mom have dreamed of for her toddler son?!
However, ever since he turned three, he has caught a new allergy to the ‘F’ and the ‘V’ words. He not only dislikes ‘Fruits & Vegetables’ on the plate but also anybody around him uttering these words. Perhaps, it’s true that children undergo changing behaviour along their growing-up phases. And perhaps, this is a not-so-good-for-eating phase of my son. It may pass sooner or later.
Most mothers I meet share such worry-filled food tales of their children. It isn’t abnormal for a child to be fussy about food. As long as a child’s height, weight and physical and mental activities appear healthy, we as mothers can stay from worrying about such transition phases. However, a decline in his/her growth rate or apparent lack of activity and enthusiasm should be considered as an alarm. It must be remembered that not eating healthy can only be one of the reasons. Other reasons like illness, stress and sleep inadequacies may also affect the growth of a child.
Though a positive hope that the child shall sooner catch-up on his growth may sound enough, it is essential that parents take efforts to bring the child back on a normal growth rate mode, on considering the following:
- A child’s body cells multiply several times faster than those of an adult. If he lacks healthy weight gain, it is probable that sufficient number of cells that are vital to his growth are not being generated. This may in turn affect his everyday metabolic functioning. Hence, the sooner parents identify a loss of growth in their children, the quicker they must take a step to help the child catch-up on the lost growth.
- According to Piaget’s stages of cognitive development, infants up until two years of age, focus on building their sensorymotor operations after which until seven years, develop their memory and imagination. And it takes almost twelve years of age when they acquire concrete logical and reasoning skills. When there is a lack of growth during the early years, one may not be able to directly identify which part of cognitive development may have got affected. Hence, in order to reverse any developmental delay, it is necessary to make the child catch-up on the lost growth.
- Certain biological functions like immunity has its roots in the early years of growth. If a lost growth during childhood is not taken care of at the appropriate time, the child may suffer permanent insufficiency or loss of it.
- Simply because, childhood is not meant to lose anything including physical growth and development.
In general, parents keep a healthy track of their children’s growth until two years of age within the period of which routine vaccinations and medical check-ups are scheduled. They might gradually overlook the importance of health check-ups with time. However, ages 3 – 9 mark a critical growth phase for children. Any delay or loss of growth during this phase must be compensated by providing nutritional supplements like Horlicks Growth+* or added nutrients in food or as per doctor’s advice.
* “Horlicks Growth+ is a specialized nutrition product designed by international pediatric experts for children in age group of 3-9 years who are lagging behind in height and weight. It contains high quality whey protein with added nutrients that are known to enable children to catch up on lost growth. It has been clinically proven for visible growth in children in 6 months.”