Top 6 Tips To Prevent Nutrient Deficiency In Your Child


Startling figures reveal that 1 in 3 children in South Asia experiences stunted growth, a condition with far-reaching consequences resulting from the deprivation of essential nutrients during their formative years. Stunting manifests as a failure to achieve the expected height for one’s age, causing permanent physical and cognitive damage and hindering future educational and economic opportunities[1].

In a world where access to balanced meals can be a financial challenge, and fad diets are increasingly prevalent, compounded by sedentary lifestyles and limited nutritional awareness, widespread nutrient deficiencies are on the rise. To confront this issue head-on, the first week of September is observed as National Nutrition Week—a collective effort to combat and conquer these pervasive nutritional hurdles.

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Here are some easy and practical ways to ensure that your child does not develop nutritional deficiencies:

1. Discover Common Nutrient Deficiencies: Even if we eat well, it’s common to have some nutritional gaps. Nutrient gaps often result from imbalanced diets that neglect essential food groups such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals. Ensure your child’s daily diet includes abundant fruits and vegetables, and consider supplements if needed. This is why many children who lack the important nutrients in their diets may often experience low energy, poor focus, mood swings, and reduced endurance.

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2. Encourage Adequate Protein Intake: Sufficient protein intake is important during the child’s growth. Children need protein to build muscles, gain height, and optimize brain functioning. Children experiencing nutritional deficiencies may exhibit fussiness, behavioral issues, or even chronic episodes of anxiety and depression. Therefore, a protein-rich diet is advisable, as protein contains amino acids essential for optimal brain function. Encourage protein intake from plant or animal sources to fulfill this important need in your child.

3. Teach Them To Say No To Processed Food: Hyperactivity in children is often related to issues with the digestive system. Many doctors suggest that children with hyperactivity or ADHD should avoid processed foods and food dyes. Excessive sugar and salt intake are often identified as contributing factors to hyperactivity, so reducing the consumption of sugary and processed snacks is advised.

4. Increase Fibre Intake: Another often neglected food group consists of dietary fibers, primarily found in the indigestible portions of fruits and vegetables, mainly composed of cellulose. Insufficient intake of vegetables can lead to low energy and a weakened immune system. These fibers are crucial in promoting intestinal health. Increase your child’s intake of foods packed with vitamins, minerals, and various phytonutrients. Aim to incorporate at least one serving of vegetables into three daily meals.

5. Add Essential Fatty Acids: 95% of the population lacks essential fatty acids, and its deficiency may lead to weakened immunity, inflammation, fluctuating blood sugar levels, and reduced satiety[2]. When it comes to food groups, fats often receive the most avoidance. However, it’s crucial to understand that not all fats are detrimental. In reality, certain fats are essential for proper brain function. Incorporate more polyunsaturated fatty acids and Omega-3 fatty acids into your diet. Fish, fish oil, avocados, almonds, and coconut oil are excellent sources of essential fatty acids.

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6. Take A Sunshine Tour: Vitamin D is instrumental in the normal development of bones and the absorption of calcium and phosphorus. Exposure to sunlight is the best way to take in Vitamin D as the skin prepares Vitamin D under the effect of sunlight. Ensure your child spends 15-20 minutes under the sun, preferably in the morning hours, so that he/she gets adequate vitamin D. You can also give your child egg yolk, fish oils, and oily fish, which contain a decent amount of vitamin D.

Investing in a well-rounded, nutrient-rich diet is paramount, especially for growing children, as it safeguards against potential health issues and promotes physical, mental, and cognitive development. Remember, a nourishing diet today paves the way for a healthier, brighter future. Give your child the most precious gift, which is the gift of good health.

(The article is written by Dr.Subita Alagh, Senior Executive, and reviewed by Monalisa Deka, Senior Health Content Editor)


1. Available online from:
2. Kaur N, Chugh V, Gupta AK. Essential fatty acids as functional components of foods- a review. J Food Sci Technol. 2014 Oct;51(10):2289-303. Available from:

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