Why is nutrition vital for infants and young children?


Vital nutrition for infants

vitality and nutrients

Nutrition plays an important role in healthy growth and development in the first years of life. Nutritional needs vary at different ages and stages of life, depending on age, gender, health, and activity level. Development is rapid during childhood. During this time the need vitality and nutrients relative to body size are higher when compared to other periods of growth. Moreover, this period is fundamental for neurocognitive development.

The disease is associated with delays in mental and motor development, which can even have long-term adverse effects beyond childhood.

It is caused by a lack of the right amount of macronutrients, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, as well as micronutrients, such as vitamin A, iodine, iron, and zinc. Excellent nutrition during the first 2 years of life is vital for healthy development and growth. Starting good nutrition practices early can help children build a healthy diet. This site brings together existing data and viable methodologies on providing healthy foods and drinks to infants and young children from birth to 24 months.



Breast milk is natural food for babies. It is safe, inexpensive and provides all the nutrients babies need for the first 6 months of life. It has the very important added benefit of increasing the baby’s resistance to disease, as the mother can transfer her own immune factors for certain diseases through her milk to protect the baby.

This ability of breast milk to protect against many diseases is an important reason why breast milk is so healthy for babies. During the first six months of life, babies depend on their mother’s milk. While their digestive and immune systems develop and mature.

Cow’s, goat’s, or any other animal’s milk is not a sufficient substitute for breast milk for a child under one year of age, because the nutrients in this milk are necessary to support the growth of the cow or goat kid and are different from the nutrients. a human child needs.


Colostrum, the first milk immediately after birth, is an essential nutrient for infants. It contains high levels of vitamin A and substances that protect babies from infections and diseases. Breastfed babies have many health benefits compared to babies fed other types of milk. Breast milk contains the perfect amount of proteins, fats, carbohydrates and other nutrients for the growth and development of the infant.



Breast milk is the main food of a young child, milk alone is not enough to meet the nutritional needs of a growing child. Because young children continue to grow very quickly and may still have compromised digestive and immune systems. It is recommended to continue breastfeeding until 18 months to two years of age, along with other foods. At six months, babies should start eating other foods called “complementary foods.” As they supplement with breast milk, they meet their energy, protein, vitamin and mineral needs.

Babies and young children aged 6-24 months have very high energy and nutrient needs for their body size and are often at risk of malnutrition. They need proper care and feeding for their normal growth, development, health and functioning. Frequent feedings (4-5 times a day) of appropriate breast milk foods ensure that young children receive enough energy and nutrients to grow normally and stay healthy.

Calories, protein, and iron are especially important to meet the demands of a baby’s rapid growth. To meet all of a child’s nutritional needs, a child’s diet should include foods rich in energy and other nutrients, such as oils, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and animal products. First, the child is used to liquid and soft food.

When teeth appear, semi-solid and then solid foods are added to their diet. The child should be offered new food in turn.

This allows the baby to get used to the food before another new food is introduced into their diet. Good complementary foods to start at the beginning include soft meats, vegetables and fruits that are mashed to a thin consistency so that the baby can choke on them. Food should be prepared without salt.

Starchy foods alone are not the best first foods for infants because they do not provide enough protein, calories, and other nutrients to meet the needs of a rapidly growing baby.

Too much starchy food can lead to malnutrition, disease, and children will stop growing properly. Starchy staples that are part of the local diet can be fortified to provide a good supplement by adding peanuts, beans, chopped or chopped green leafy vegetables and other vegetables, fatty foods (peanuts, meat or oily fish) in small amounts : oil


  • Jumps with two feet.
  • Throws the ball overhead.
  • Can dress under supervision.
  • can use zippers, snaps and buttons.


  • Improve understanding of how to avoid simple obstacles.


2-10 YEARS

Babies need a lot of energy and nutrients, but they have small stomachs. Because they can’t eat large portions at once. That’s why they should consume food rich in protein and other nutrients. Although the baby is still growing quickly, the rate of growth is slower than in the first 12 months of life. By the end of the third year, girls and boys will reach about 50 percent of their adult height. Both girls and boys grow at about the same rate until they reach puberty, and they have the same amount of food and the same nutrient needs.

Very active children of either gender may need slightly more food to meet their energy needs than less active children.

They should have three good meals each day and nutritious snacks at school and at home in between meals. Children should have a nutritious meal before going to school, especially if they have to walk a long way to get there. Furthermore, meals and nutrient-dense snacks at school help maintain their energy. If schools do not provide meals or snacks, children must bring food from home to eat at school. Whether these meals and snacks are provided by the family or the school, it is important to include a variety of foods that are necessary for children’s nutritional needs.


  • Most children can stand on one leg for 5 seconds. They can also hop on one leg and can also broad jump
  • Most children can hop and balance on one leg, can walk forward on their heels, and can catch a thrown ball.
  • Complex and fine motor and perceptual skills improve with practice and refinement.


  • Can count to 3, can tell his age, name and surname, can answer simple questions
  • Can count 5-10 objects, asks questions, has a vocabulary of more than 200 words, understands opposite and consecutive concepts.
  • Thinking becomes logical and rational, specific operational thinking is developed.


Adolescence is a period of very rapid growth and high demand for nutrients and energy. The period of rapid growth begins at age 10 or 11 for girls and 12 or 13 for boys and continues for about 2.5 years. Teenagers need a high intake of calories, vitamins, and minerals, especially iron, calcium, and vitamins A, C, and D. Some teenagers, however, become less physically active and have to meet their nutrient needs by not eating more calories than they need. healthy body weight. Adolescence is a time to reinforce good eating habits and establish regular eating patterns.

Eating habits and food preferences are formed during childhood and especially during adolescence.

As they become more independent, many teens begin eating more meals away from family, often leading to poor food choices, missed meals, increased snacking instead of regular, balanced meals, and decreased vitamins and minerals when eating well. is especially important.

Also, teenagers tend to follow food fads and weight loss diets that do not meet all their nutritional needs. At this age, it’s important to eat a variety of foods, including carbohydrates, plenty of fruits and vegetables, daily protein and dairy or other calcium-rich foods, and avoid excess fat and sugar.


  • Rapid growth and development of genitals, as well as secondary sexual characteristics



  • Develop formal operational thinking during early adolescence that develops well into late adolescence.


Physical effects.

Malnutrition in early childhood or adolescence can limit development, weaken immunity, and increase the incidence of infection and disease. Malnutrition can begin at conception due to maternal malnutrition. Moreover, it can lead to the transfer of low birth weight children.

In many countries, less than 1 percent of preschool children endure severe forms of protein vital malnutrition (PEM), subclinical malnutrition prevails in nearly half of children under 5 years of age, with side effects such as underweight, stunting, and wasting. .

Inadequate or inadequate amounts of calories can also cause catabolism of body tissues and frustration to supply substrate for vitality. Chronic malnutrition in childhood leads to short stature in adulthood.

The effect on the nervous system.

The nervous system is most suspected of nutritional imbalances between birth and 2 years of age. Diet plays a dual role in cognitive enhancement.

  • It provides energy to the brain for its proper functioning.
  • It provides a substrate that helps build the brain.

Two major effects on brain function and structure are due to in utero and extra utero undernutrition. In addition, it most affects the hippocampus, cerebellum, and neocortex. This type of malnutrition leads to:

  • Reduction of brain cells
  • Fewer synapses
  • Arborization of dendrites
  • Myelin production
  • Small brain size
  • Changes in the neurotransmitter system

Overall it affects

  • Delay in cognitive and motor functions
  • Lower IQ scores
  • Disruption of school activities
  • Learning disabilities
  • Bad memory
  • Reduced social skills

Therefore, a nutritionally balanced diet is crucial for proper growth, development, and enhanced immune function. Macronutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, fats and micronutrients like calcium, iron, vitamin A, vitamin D.

Here are some suggestions from the researchers.

Nutritional requirement:

  1. For newborns
  2. (0-6 months) – calcium (500 mg/day), iron (46 mg/day), net energy (92 kcal/day).
  3. (6-12 months) – calcium (500 mg/day), iron (46 mg/day), clean energy (80 kcal/day), vitamin A (retinol 350, b-carotene 2800) (mg/day)
  4. For the little ones
  5. (1-3 years) – calcium (600 mg/day), iron (9 mg/day), net energy (1060 kcal/day), vitamin A (retinol 400, b-carotene 3200) (mg/day)
  6. (4-6 years) – calcium (600 mg/day), iron (13 mg/day), clean energy (1350 kcal/day), vitamin A (retinol 400, b-carotene 3200) (mg/day)
  7. (7-9 years) – calcium (600 mg/day), iron (16 mg/day), clean energy (1690 kcal/day), vitamin A (retinol 600, b-carotene 4800) (mg/day)

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