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Food and nutritional disorders

Blindness due to lack of Vitamin – A

Vitamin A is necessary for good eyesight. In children, Vitamin A deficiency causes loss of eyesight. If this deficiency is very severe, it may lead to permanent blindness.   In our country every year 30, 000 children lose eye sight due to Vitamin A deficiency. Vitamin A deficiency symptoms are seen more severely in children of age group 1 to 5 years.

Symptoms of Vitamin-A Deficiency

Blindness among children with vitamin A deficiency does not occur suddenly. Vitamin A deficiency when recognized at the early stage can be rectified through intake of nutritious food rich in vitamin A

Symptoms of severe deficiency

Night blindness is the first symptom. Children with night blindness are unable to see in poor light condition /darkness.  The white part of the eye dries up and loses its shining quality.

On identifying the above symptoms, consult the doctor immediately. If untreated, the condition may lead to permanent blindness.

Prevention of Vitamin A deficiency

  • Eat food which is rich in Vitamin A
  • Milk, egg, fish oil etc. are rich in vitamin A. Leafy vegetables like various types of greens, vegetables like carrot and fruits like papaya and mango are good source of vitamin A.
  • Based on research conducted by National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, one spoon of Vitamin A syrup to children of 1-5 years age group once in 6 months also prevents vitamin A deficiency to certain extent.
  • When the children are given Vitamin A syrup once in six months up to five years of age, Vitamin A gets retained in the liver and is available in sufficient quantities till the next dose is administered. This is presently followed throughout our country to protect children from permanent blindness caused due to vitamin A deficiency.
  • Pregnant women should take nutritious food that contains vitamin A. This helps the child in the womb to get vitamin A from its mother.

Nutritious Food for Growing children

Growing children need sufficient nutritious food.  When there is lack of proteins and calories in a child's body (malnutrition), diseases like marasmas and kwashiorkor occur.

Who Gets marasmas and kwashiorkor

Malnourished children in the age group of 1-5 years

Symptoms of Marasmas

This disease starts with the swelling of legs followed by hands and the whole body.  Rough skins, less hair on head with hair colour changing to reddish brown are symptoms of marasmas. Affected children look pale and lack enthusiasm.

Symptoms of kwashiorkor

Children affected by the disease are very weak and thin. Children may get diarrhea during initial stages.  The skin looks dry.

Treatment tips for children with the above diseases

Nutritious food rich in calories and proteins need to be given to the children in adequate quantities in frequent intervals. Children with severe deficiency symptoms need to be taken to the doctor immediately.

Diet for children affected by Marasmas and kwashiorkor

National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad has developed nutritious food called MIX with the mixture of all nutrients. The mixture can be prepared in the house.

INGREDIENTS IN THE NUTRITIOUS MIXTURE

Fried wheat          -   40grams

Putnal grain          -   16 gr

Fried ground nuts - 10 gr

Jaggery                 - 20 gr

Powder the ingredients and mix them. The m consists of 330gr of calories and  11.3 gr of proteins.

This mixture is fed with milk or water. It has been experimented to feed the children who are suffering with Marasmas and kwashiorkor diseases.



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