The diet of around 90 per cent children could be deficient in essential nutrients, warns a new study.
Around nine out of every 10 children could be at risk of inadequate micronutrient intake, with almost 70 per cent at risk of having insufficient intake of four or more micronutrients, according to the study conducted by the Community Institute of Management Studies (CIMS) here amongst 634 school-going children.
It said that the intake of nutrients that were most inadequate in the Bangalore study was Vitamin A, folate, Vitamin B12 and iron, leaving children susceptible to stunting, weakened immune systems, impaired cognitive function, anaemia, low energy levels and other devastating effects of hidden hunger.
The study suggested that what constitutes a balanced diet for a mother is the home-cooked healthy food she puts on her child's plate, but the lesser known fact is that a balanced diet is the amount of intake of crucial vitamins and minerals which are needed for healthy growth of a child.
Micronutrient deficiency, also known as hidden hunger, is the key underlining issue and can be explained as inadequate intake of crucial vitamins and minerals such as zinc, Vitamin A and folate, which are needed for healthy mental and physical growth of children.
Parents can also look out for fortified foods and drinks, which have been consistently ranked as the top investments to make in a child's development.
Considering how important better nourished children are to maximising India's developmental potential, working with parents for better childhood nutrition is increasingly becoming an imperative and not just an option.
Empowering ordinary mothers and fathers to lead the charge to spread awareness and act can only hasten efforts to make hidden hunger a thing of the past.