Nutrition for proper growth and development

Growth during childhood and adolescence has individual characteristics, even within the same family, the height of children and their rate of growth is affected by various genetic, hormonal, environmental and especially nutritional factors, which interact from the moment of birth. conception until the end of puberty.

Food is one of the most important pillars to achieve the expected growth potential in children, when we talk about adequate food, it must be varied, nutritious, balanced in food groups (fruits, vegetables, legumes, healthy fats, proteins, etc.) that contain essential micronutrients and macronutrients, based mainly on natural foods and not ultra-processed.

This adequate nutrition must start from the woman before her pregnancy and during pregnancy, continuing it in children from birth, guaranteeing breastfeeding, since this period from the conception of pregnancy to 2 years of life of a child, is Known as “the first 1,000 days” it is a crucial stage in the development of children, involving changes of great importance for health throughout their lives, and provides a unique opportunity for children to obtain nutritional and immunological benefits that they will need for the rest of their lives, for adequate growth and a lower risk of non-communicable chronic diseases in their adulthood.

For the integration of a balanced diet in childhood should be considered:

The food must be enough in quantity of food to cover the energy and nutritional needs of the organism and adequate to the physiological conditions of each child, according to their age, sex, weight, height and physical activity.

Must be complete, that is, it must contain all the nutrients to offer all the substances necessary for adequate growth: proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and water; and they must keep an appropriate proportion among themselves, since they must provide the amounts of nutrients necessary for the proper functioning of the organism.

innocuousthat its consumption does not imply risks, food must be hygienically prepared and free of chemical, bacteriological and physical contaminants.

It should be ensured that it is attractive Y varied, that stimulates the senses, including a variety of colors and different foods at each meal, avoiding monotony. In addition, foods from different groups should be included daily at each meal time and foods from the same group should be varied at each meal.

In conclusion, in this period eating habits are formed that can be permanent and define nutritional health, so that an adequate, varied and healthy diet in the first 1,000 days can even be health insurance for the future. Bad eating habits that are generated during this stage can have irreversible and negative consequences on growth and adult life.

Dr. Samanta García Barahona, pediatric endocrinologist

Good nutrition is vital for proper growth and development in childhood.

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