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Vitamins & Their Deficiencies In Children: Here’s What You Should Be Looking Out For

27 April 2021

A well-balanced diet for kids has a host of benefits that can lead to the healthy growth of your child. As a parent, one of the most important things you can do for your child is help them learn good and healthy eating habits, in terms of vegetables, fruits, protein foods, and whole-grain foods. Good nutrition and vitamins and minerals go hand in hand for a healthy body and mind but always knowing what nutrients are healthy isn’t always easy.

Micronutrients are equally necessary for healthy development and body functioning. According to the Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey: 2016-2018, Vitamin A deficiency was 18% in pre-school children, 22% in school-going children and 16% in adolescents. Vitamin D deficiency was found among 14% of pre-school children, 18% of school-going children, and 24% of adolescents. The report also mentions that B12 deficiency is prevalent in 14% of pre-school children, 17% of school-going children, and 31% of adolescents.

Keeping the above in mind, let’s look at the Vitamin alphabet to understand why each vitamin is important and what its deficiency can do –

  1. Vitamin A is important for the healthy skin and growth of your child, and it also helps with proper vision and tissue repair. Vitamin A can be found in yellow and orange vegetables, liver, eggs, and dairy products. Vitamin A deficiency can lead to night blindness, which basically reduces the ability to see in low light or darkness. This vitamin also helps strengthen the immune system.
  2. Vitamin B Complex helps the body make red blood cells and helps in releasing energy. These vitamins are usually found in meat, poultry, fish, soy, milk, eggs, whole grains, and bread and cereals. Deficiency of B vitamins can lead to fatigue, weakness, mouth ulcers, etc. Vitamin B12 deficiency can also cause anemia, glossitis of the tongue, numbness of hand and feet, etc. Skin irritation, dandruff, or even dermatitis are conditions when there are low amounts of Vitamin B3, B2, and B6. Ensure that your child gets food rich in iron like poultry, meat, fish, legumes, whole grains, leafy greens, and even nuts and seeds.
  3. Vitamin C is needed to fight off infection. It also helps in the synthesis of collagen, which is a component of connective tissues and plays an important role in wound healing.  Always look to eat citrus heavy foods to have – lemon, orange, guavas, strawberries, and others like tomatoes, amla, and more. A vitamin C deficiency can lead to bleeding gums or even scurvy so make sure your child eats at least one-two fruit a day along with ample portions of vegetables. Read about the wonders of Vitamin C here.
  4. Vitamin D helps with maintaining strong teeth and bones and helps absorb minerals like calcium. Exposure to sunlight helps in Vitamin D synthesis. You’ll find this vitamin in fortified dairy products and fatty fish. This vitamin also helps prevent rickets.
  5. Vitamin E has antioxidant qualities that help in the smooth functioning of your immune system. This vitamin is found in a wide range of foods such as nuts like Almonds, Walnuts and seeds, oils, whole grains, and more. However, its deficiency can lead to problems such as muscle pain and weakness, difficulty in coordination, and impaired immune response of the body.
  6. Vitamin K is an important nutrient for bones and also helps in blood clotting. It is naturally present in green leafy vegetables, meat, eggs, etc. Severe Vitamin K deficiency can lead to bleeding problems and might reduce bone strength.

Hence, it’s imperative that kids are provided with a healthy diet that can help build their immunity and ensure smooth functioning of all the systems in the body. If you’re keen to read up a little more on understanding and creating a healthy balanced diet for your child, check this out.

Growth is influenced by genetics, nutrition, and other environmental factors. Please consult your healthcare professional further.
The information provided in this article is based on the writer’s personal experience and view. Any recommendations made about physical activity, nutrition source, and benefits on this website should be consulted with your paediatric/ health professional. The information you receive in our blogs, and other communication does not take the place of professional medical advice. Any recommendations made about physical activity, nutrition, or diet on this website should be consulted with your healthcare professional

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