The ability of the couple to get children is always greeted with celebrations and happiness. It, therefore, becomes the dreams of the parents to nurture the child to grow and develop in all dimensions of life spiritually, mentally and physically fit. However, during the child's growth, nutrition issues usually crop up which causes malnutrition and obesity among the children. Thus, the parents should be very particulate on the right nature of nutrition provided as food and also ensure proper health in their growth. This paper will be building in the long term and short term impacts of malnutrition on the growth and the development of the children.
There has been a thin line of confusion between hunger and malnutrition among many scholars and teachers. In most cases, people would use the word malnourished to refer to hunger. Hunger in an explicit form is the humane need for food which when not met, results in a reduction in the performance of the person intellectually and physically. However, these adverse effects are reversible immediately the need of food is met. Malnutrition of the children is when the need for food is ignored or not met for an extended period of high intensity that they begin to interfere with the energy supply of the body. The body is therefore forced to adopt the measures of expenditure contention to maintain the normal metabolic processes. In the cases of a lighter malnutrition, the body sacrifices the growth rate to keep the metabolisms. Both the light and the moderate cases of malnutrition among the children can be reversed, and the child continues with the normal life. However, this is not the case when the child suffers severe and extreme malnutrition. The extreme malnutrition causes damages to the central nervous system leading to the death of the child (World Health Organization, 2006).
To fully grasp the impacts of malnutrition among the children aged between the birth to age eight, I invite you to the case study of a child seven years of age.
Lukas cases Study on Malnutrition
According to Thomas&Wilson (2012), Lukas is seven years old and the first child of his parents. His parents were very humble financially hence needed to work most of the day to make a living. Due to the busy schedule of the guardians or parents, Lukas most of the time had to wait at home or the field of work until his Mum was done with her duties. Being the first born and busy schedule of the mother, she did not know the proper nutrition that is beneficial to the development and growth of Lukas. Subsequently, being a daily labourer, she sometimes has to do three jobs a day which often left her so exhausted that she forgets to feed Lukas.
His parents enrolled him in a nearby public school nearby immediately he started mumbling with words at year three. Most of the time he would be treated with the little leftover food when available after school and wake up to go to school on an empty stomach.
As a result of the constant and asymptotic hunger, Lukas school life was negatively impacted. The short-term effect was the persistent pangs of hunger pains that continually haunted the stomach of the child. Since it continued for a long time, the impact of the hunger pains caused a delicate balance of the central nervous system between maintaining the metabolic processes of the body and supporting the growth and development of Lukas while using the little available energy. In the long run, Lukas often lost focus during the class sessions and would usually fall asleep. However, there has never been a scientifically proved fact that it reduces the intellectual ability of Lukas and other malnourished children to learn. It, however, results in the reduction in the anatomy of Lukas' size, weight, volume, number of cells and amount of myelin. The physique thin in size gave other pupils within the school to ridicule and abuse Lukas making him shy off and be in the solitude and depressed.
For the teachers to help avert this menace, the teacher needs to stand out for pupils like Lukas and extend parental love to them while organising snacks for them. The snacks will help keep away the stinging pains of hunger while the parental love will help develop the concept of sharing the food other pupils have carried as well as forming a ground for allowing Lukas to communicate with other kids. The teacher should also reach out to the parents of Lukas and share with them the importance of taking good care of Lukas with proper food.
Nevertheless, to entirely uproot the nutrition issue of malnutrition, a proper collaboration between the school, parents and the community. They can achieve this through organising parent education, having lunch and breakfast programs and health interventions. The parents should be educated on the proper nutrition to help the children like Lukas to get all the vitamins and get access to food daily. Also, the community and the parents should be taught on the recipe of preparing weaning foods as well as additional foods locally at low costs. The schools should also incorporate the provisions of lunch and breakfast to the children with the support of stakeholders like parents and community agencies. Finally, the children should be granted the access to improved health care system that provides for immunisation, periodic deworming and oral rehydration (Gillespie, McLachlan, World Bank & UNICEF, 2003).
In conclusion, it is essential for parents, schools and the community to come together in fighting the nutritional issues of malnutrition prevalent among the American Children recently. Proper nutrition, improved health care system and the feeding program are key to fighting malnutrition among the children.
World Health Organization. (2006). Neurological disorders: Public health challenges. Geneva: World Health Organization.
Thomas, J. G., & Wilson, C. R. (2012). The new encyclopedia of Southern culture: Volume 22. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
Gillespie, S. R., McLachlan, M., World Bank., & UNICEF. (2003). Combating malnutrition: Time to act. Washington, D.C: World Bank.
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