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Survey links child malnutrition to fussy eating

Posted on Apr 07 2014 | IBNS

Kolkata, Apr 7 : Global health major Abbot in a recently conducted research noted that malnutrition and poor growth may not be indicated in children living below poverty line households alone, but could very well exist in more affluent socioeconomic classes.

The Abbot SureMoms survey was conducted by market research group TNS across 1,181 respondents in 61 clinics in Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai.

The survey measured the height and weight, and interviewed mothers on their child's eating behaviour.

The survey showed that 70 percent of the children in the 2 to 10 year age group, in four Indian metros were observed to have below-median growth parameters and as many as 45 percent of these children are nutritionally at risk.

Abbott conducted this survey on the premise that many mothers in metro India were concerned that their children's fussy eating habits was negatively effecting healthy nutritional intake necessary to achieve adequate growth and development.

Out of 1,181 respondents, 61 percent were found to be fussy eaters with behaviours such as strong food likes and dislikes, consuming a limited number of food items and refusal to eat vegetables and/or foods from other food groups, thus clearly drawing the connection between missed growth parameters and insufficient intake of nutrition.

Dr. Pallab Chatterjee of Columbia Asia Hospital, Kolkata, said, "Fussy eating is definitely not the only factor impacting the height and weight of a growing child. There are other factors such as heredity, exercise, hormones, etc. So if a child is missing growth milestones, it may not necessarily because he or she is fussy."

Chatterjee added, "Similarly, a child who is classified as a fussy eater could still eat junk food, pile on weight and meet growth parameters",

He said, "What is essential is that a growing child should get the right nutrition. If a child misses necessary nutrition because of fussy food habits, it can adversely impact height and weight over a period of time."

In the list of four metros Kolkata and Chennai accounted for the highest percentage of fussy eaters at 73 percent while Mumbai the lowest at 36 percent.

New Delhi stood at 63 percent.

In order to help parents cope with their children's eating tantrums consultant pediatrician and neonatologist, Dr. Subhasis Roy advised the parents to discipline their children's eating habits by not replacing the regular food with fast food or chips.

He advised the mothers not to force the children to eat more than they want. He said,"The food should be decided by the mother, and the quantity by the child."

"Try to make the food look interesting and delectable to your child, introduce a variety of taste in the menu. Parents can consult a nutritionist in this matter," Dr Roy suggested.

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