Children grow and develop differently. But how do you know if the rate of your child’s growth remains at par with his peers?
The key is to learn how to spot the signs of slowed or stunted growth1. To do this properly, you will need to consult with a pediatrician who can help you track your child’s development and determine if your child is following a healthy growth pattern.
At home, you can help your child catch up or maintain a healthy growth pattern by letting him eat a well-balanced diet, along with regular physical activity2.
To help you get started, learn more about these nutrients children need, especially during their growth and development period:
Calories provide the human body with the energy it needs3 to carry out essential functions to sustain life, like metabolism and even growth. It’s important to follow a healthy diet and monitor caloric intake to ensure you are getting the right amount of calories every day.[ads:5]
According to the Philippine Dietary Reference Intakes 20154 (Revised September 2018) of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute at the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST), children between ages 3 and 12 generally need at least 1,260 to 1,980 calories for girls and at least 1,350 to 2,060 calories per day, depending on their exact age, weight, and gender.
FNRI-DOST has also issued the Pinggang Pinoy food guide5, which informs exactly how much children should eat every day and meal recommendations for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.
Carbohydrates, protein, and fat
Ensure your kids get only good calories by feeding them well-balanced meals that contain carbohydrates6, protein7, and fat8, along with the other nutrients in this list. These three have many benefits, but they all help power bodily and chemical functions and provide energy.
Remember that the quality and quantity of food are equally important. Opt for healthier options like whole grains and beans for carbohydrates, lean meat and fish for protein, and vegetable oils and nuts for fat.[ads:10]
Iron, well-known for maintaining healthy blood9, is also essential in brain development and growth10. Lack of iron can cause anemia11, a nutritional deficiency that affects even children. Include iron-rich food like seafood, poultry, dark leafy greens, legumes, and more in your kids’ diet.
Zinc intake is important during periods of rapid growth12, especially during the first five years of a child’s life when growth velocity is at its highest, as it helps cells grow and multiply, and maintain a healthy immune system. Food rich in zinc include shellfish, beef, and fortified breakfast cereals.
Also known as the “sunshine vitamin,” vitamin D is critical for bone-building13 because it helps absorb and retain calcium and phosphorus.
For your kids’ vitamin D intake, let them have enough sun exposure and give them food naturally rich in this vitamin such as tuna fish, sardines, and fortified dairy products.[ads:17]
Arginine and vitamin K2
New, emerging nutrients arginine and vitamin K2 also play vital roles in children’s growth and development.
Arginine triggers the release of growth hormone which stimulates the multiplication of cells at the growth plate to promote linear growth14. It can be found in food sources15 like soybeans and peanuts.
Meanwhile, vitamin K2, like vitamin D, helps with bone health by activating osteocalcin, a protein that helps transport calcium to the bone for strength16. Vitamin K2 may be found17 in dairy, eggs, and fermented food like cheese and yogurt.
Along with these nutritious food items, an oral nutritional supplement, like PediaSure Plus with Triple Protein Complex and added Arginine and Natural Vitamin K2 for kids above 3 years old, can also help ensure children are getting the right amount of vitamins and minerals necessary for their growth and development.
Help bring the best out of your kid by following these tips![ads:23]
PediaSure Plus is available in drugstores and groceries nationwide, and on Shopee and Lazada. Find out more about PediaSure Plus by visiting www.pediasure.com.ph and following Alagang Abbot on Facebook.
1Stunting in a nutshell. World Health Organization. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/nutrition/healthygrowthproj_stunted_videos/en
2Physical activity. World Health Organization. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/physical-activity
3Osilla, Eva et. al. Calories (Last updated August 25, 2020). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499909
4Food and Nutrition Research Institute at the Department of Science and Technology. Philippine Dietary Reference Intakes 2015 (Revised September 2018). Retrieved from https://www.fnri.dost.gov.ph/images/images/news/PDRI-2018.pdf
5Food and Nutrition Research Institute at the Department of Science and Technology. Pinggang Pinoy Food Guide. Retrieved from https://fnri.dost.gov.ph/images/sources/PinggangPinoy-Kids.pdf
6Carbohydrates. The Nutrition Source by Harvard T.H. Chan. Retrieved from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/carbohydrates[ads:31]
7Protein. The Nutrition Source by Harvard T.H. Chan. Retrieved from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/protein
8Fats and cholesterol. The Nutrition Source by Harvard T.H. Chan. Retrieved from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/fats-and-cholesterol
9Abbaspour, Nazanin et al. Review on iron and its importance for human health (February 2014). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3999603
10Iron. The Nutrition Source by Harvard T.H. Chan. Retrieved from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/iron
11Anaemia. World Health Organization. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/health-topics/anaemia
12Zinc.The Nutrition Source by Harvard T.H. Chan. Retrieved from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/zinc
13Vitamin D. The Nutrition Source by Harvard T.H. Chan. Retrieved from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamin-d
14Tapiero H, et al. Biomed Pharmacother. 56(9): 439-445. 2. Lindsey RC, et al. Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2016;432:44-55
15Goldman, Rena. 10 Healthy High-Arginine Foods (Updated June 14, 2019). Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-high-arginine-foods[ads:40]
16Vermeer C. Food Nutr Res. 2012; 56: 10.3402/fnr.v56i0.5329
17Maresz, Kataryzyna. Proper Calcium Use: Vitamin K2 as a Promoter of Bone and Cardiovascular Health (February 2015). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4566462