How Can Children’s Health Affect Their Development

The early years of a child’s life can be the most crucial for their development. Many things affect the way they grow and perceive the world around them, including their physical health. Children need to play and be physical, and get enough sleep; but perhaps the most important aspect for them is their need for a healthy diet. A child’s health can be compromised if they do not receive the proper number of calories and nutrients. Nutrition can affect children’s growth physically, intellectually, and even emotionally.

The most obvious development for a child is physical. The right kinds, and the right amounts, of food can help children grow properly with few health issues. Whenever a child is malnourished, this can lead to unsettling setbacks later in life. According to Dakota Karratti, writer of How Poor Nutrition Affects Child Development , a study published by Dr. H. Peter Chase and Dr. Harold P. Martin found that malnourished children under the age of one were smaller than children who were not. It is important to note that infant nutrition can carry its effects throughout adolescence.

Undernourishment can indeed affect a child’s growth, but the opposite can also be just as devastating. Overfeeding a young child may seem to be a nurturing thing to do for them, but high caloric intake creates chronic illnesses for them later in life. Karratti references the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics study of overeating on kids. Poor nutrition creates burdensome weight issues for children that causes health complications for them in later years.

Poor health from lack of proper nutrition can delay the development of a child’s mind as well. These setbacks may not be as noticeable as physical development, but can force a child to fall behind academically. According to Karratti, a 2010 study from The Journal of Nutrition discovered that underfed two-year-olds had 16 percent higher chances of failing at least one grade in school later in life. In that same study, they were more likely to start school later in life as well.

Underachieving in school for these underfed students can have adverse effects on them long term. Karratti says the scientist that conducted the research concluded that an unhealthy child would see a 10 percent decrease in their lifetime income because of their school performance. Their mental ability is also compromised as underfed children cannot get enough calories to support proper brain function.

A child’s poor health can have severe effects on them on an emotional level. Many poor children may struggle with the pangs of hunger, and this may reduce their concentration in school. However, more perplexing issues can rise as well. According to wholenewmom,children who are underfed will have a lack minerals, like calcium, which is important for developing emotions properly. Without these mineral, a child has a higher chance of developing anxiety, depression, or schizophrenia later in life.

The health of a child also affects their behavior. Children who do not get enough to eat will see developmental delay in their behavior and attitude. According to wholenewmom, in the first two years of a child’s life, if they do not get enough to eat, they will become withdrawn. This may be due to feeling inadequate because of their lack of available food. They will also be less physically active and will be less willing to help others.

Under-nutrition seems to play a negative role in a child’s social development. Karratti states that, according to a National Institute of Health study done on psychological development of children, social behaviors were more likely to suffer from lack of food than even the ability to learn. This may root from the child’s need to secure food for themselves overruled their need for socialization with others.

A child’s health can have a crucial effect on their development, especially when it concerns a lack of nutrition. The early years of a child’s life are the most important for them to develop important skills that, if missed, can caused great harm later in life. The structure of a child’s daily eating routine can play a role in that. Although physical exercise, rest, and play are all important, the amount of food a child intakes can be the most decisive in growing properly. Food, as it turns out, can be the key factor for a child to thrive physically, mentally, and emotionally.

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