4 Reasons Moms Should Be Wary Of Stunted Growth In ChildrenAre you checking your child's height and weight regularly?CREATED WITH PEDIASURE PLUS
Have you ever stopped and wondered why pediatricians measure your kids’ height and weight during routine checkups? It’s not just for the sake of updating a record sheet. Your doctor is also checking for early signs of stunting.
More than just about being tall or short, stunting is really about chronic undernutrition and its impact on a child's growth and development. Its first indicators are low weight for height, loss of appetite, and frequent illness. A person who is stunted has a height and weight that fall short of the World Health Organization (WHO) growth standards for their age group.
Stunted growth should be a cause for concern for parents because it can have serious effects on a child’s physical, cognitive, and psychological well-being both today and in the future.
1. It leads to smaller stature and reduced muscle mass
Stunting has long-term effects on the adult height and weight of children. Stunted kids grow up to be "shorter adults with reduced muscle mass and possibly permanent metabolic changes."
Contrary to popular belief, it's not just genes that influence your kids' growth — how you nurture your kids in their first five years greatly affects it, too. So, what they eat, how much they sleep, and how much exercise they get will be very influential to their developing physique.
2. It increases the risk for chronic diseases
The WHO explains that stunted kids may be more prone to chronic diseases later in life. Studies actually found that adults who were stunted in early childhood had "heightened risks" of developing hypertension, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
Furthermore, in another study, researchers found that stunted children are 4.47 times more likely to develop severe respiratory infections in the first five years of life.1
3. It affects educational performance
According to the WHO, stunted kids "start school with a reduced capacity for learning and processing information." They have difficulty paying attention or focusing, exercising fluency (or reading comprehension), and storing information.
4. It has a lasting impact on a child's psychological well-being
One study found that adolescents who were stunted as children tended to exhibit symptoms of anxiety and depression. They also had poorer self-esteem and showed hyperactive behavior compared to non-stunted individuals.
Once set in, stunted growth is irreversible. But, there is still some good news. Parents have a window to intervene in the first five years of their child's life and prevent stunting. This is the time for moms and dads to build a good foundation for their child’s growth.
PediaSure Plus has launched a campaign called Growth Watch. It aims to help parents understand growth concerns, identify their risks, and provide them with helpful advice for intervention so that their kids can reach their full growth potential. Part of this campaign are the Growth Watch Modules, animated, kid-friendly videos that talk about the importance of optimal growth in kids and effective ways to achieve it.
The first episode discusses what stunted growth is, its impact on kids, the importance of good growth, and the tips and tools to know if children are growing properly. Watch this:
After watching the video, do take note of the following tips to check if kids are on the right track for good growth:
- Use the Growth Watch AR Facebook Filter: Knowing how your child’s current height measures up to the WHO recommended height-for-age ratio is essential to check for stunting. The PediaSure Plus Growth Watch AR Facebook Filter will help you track your child’s height against the ideal height for that gender and age group based on this standard. Access the filter here.
- Take advantage of the free nutritional counseling offered by PediaSure Plus: Once accessed via the scannable QR code in the video, you can book an appointment on a date and time convenient for you. You may also sign up here.
- Record your kids’ eating, sleeping, and physical activity habits: Do this for three days. By checking children’s current habits, parents will have a clearer picture of their home life and see if it is conducive for their kids’ growth.
How we nurture our kids today lays the foundation for their future. To unlock children’s maximum growth potential and prepare them for the future, parents must instill healthy habits in them early on.
1 Hwang AE, Mack TM, Hamilton AS, et al. Am J Epidemiol. 2013; 178(4): 551-558.