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The Consequences Of Hidden Hunger On You And Your Child

The Consequences Of Hidden Hunger On You And Your Child

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Hidden hunger is a lack of micronutrients, classified as minerals and vitamins, in the body. These micronutrients have a specific role in our bodily functions. 

Monday, June 18th, 2018

Hidden hunger affects as many as two billion people around the world. Victims are mainly women and children belonging to the lower income groups in both, developing and developed countries.

 It is not about quantity of food but the quality of food. For babies, it is necessary to ensure to provide nutritious food in the first 1000 days to ensure hidden hunger is kept at a safe distance.

Hidden hunger in babies causes low birth weight, impaired mental development and high mortality rate. Lack of adequate nutrition in children can result in frequent illness, slowed growth and delayed cognitive outcomes. This also leads to poor immunity which increases the risk of infection. Lack of micronutrients in women reduces productivity, increases the risk of chronic diseases, mental impairment, and in some cases, causes death.

Deficiency of Iron in Children and Women 

This vital dietary mineral is involved in several bodily functions. It helps in providing energy and is essential for brain development. Infants with iron deficiency (anaemia) experience delayed growth, behavioural problems, frequent infections, loss of appetite and breathlessness. For women, blood loss during pregnancy or menstruation, and poor diet are common causes of iron deficiency. Weakness, brittle nails, headaches, pale skin, general fatigue, shortness of breath, tingling feeling in the legs are some of the symptoms of anaemia.

An Insight on Other Mineral Deficiencies

Growth failure and impaired immune system in children are caused by Zinc deficiency. Iodine deficiency can cause Goitre and hypothyroidism.

Vitamin Deficiency in Children and Women 

Vitamin deficiency can be mild and get serious if left untreated. For instance, Vitamin C deficiency leads to scurvy, causing spotty skin, bleeding and swollen gums. Vitamin D deficiency is often referred to as rickets. Children from 6 months to two years are prone to rickets if their only intake is breast milk. This deficiency also causes softening of bones in children, which eventually results in fractures and deformities. Beriberi is caused by a deficiency in vitamin B1, symptoms of which include tingling in hands and feet, memory loss, depression and problem in breathing. 

Consumption of food that is high in nutritive value should be a norm to curb hidden hunger.

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