Panchkula 6th March 2018: With India tops the list of nations with the prevalence of anemia among children, the iron- deficiency disease continues to be an area of major concern for the healthcare system. The recently released National Family and Healthcare survey (2015-2016) of Haryana states that 72% of children aged 6 months- 4 years are anemic in Haryana.
Anemia is a condition, which is marked by low levels of hemoglobin in the blood. Iron deficiency is said to be responsible for anemia globally. The exact cause of the high prevalence of anemia in children is still not known, however major reasons that contribute to it are improper diet, childhood illness (malnutrition, diarrhea, worm infestations) Iron supplementation not done by mother as prescribed to them and Poor nutritional intake by women. While some status of India does have better nutritional status, but in Haryana, the conditions are worst, said Dr. Sorabh Goel, Consultant Neonatology, Paras Bliss Panchkula
Physical growth and development are impaired in children who have high Iron- deficiency. This directly leads to a low immune system and hampers both physical and mental growth in children as iron is an important element in our body. Improper nutrition significantly decreases the child’s ability to learn and remember and the child is unable to perform outdoor physical activities like sports. It also blunts intellectual capacity.
Malnutrition affects the physical and mental growth of children from the time it begins to grow in mother’s womb. Poor access to diet is the cause of malnutrition in women and children which directly leads to a high increase of anemia. In infants and children, a large amount of iron intake is needed. A one- year old infant loses around 0.2 mg of iron per day and the amount needed on an average is roughly 0.6 mg, said Dr. Sorabh Goel, Consultant Neonatology.
To treat the disease, it is important to get the patient diagnosed with any underlying cause of bleeding and treating it. Apart from following a healthy nutritional diet, patients are prescribed iron and vitamin C supplements. Severe cases are usually treated by blood transfusion.
Anemia is preventable and a good diet plays a crucial role in avoiding the disease. “A well-balanced, iron-rich diet is crucial to prevent the disease. Green, leafy vegetables, dried fruits, eggs, beans, pumpkin, seafood and red meat are a high source of Iron. It is important that the person is not suffering from vitamin C deficiency, and therefore, foods rich in vitamin C should also be consumed. Leafy vegetables, broccoli, tomatoes, cauliflower, fruits such as oranges, grapefruit, melons, and mangoes are a rich source of vitamin C. If dietary changes alone are not enough to bring a child’s iron levels up to a healthy level, Parents should recommend Paediatric. Iron supplements like Foregone and Flourite is mostly recommended for adults”, added Dr. Sorabh Goel, Consultant Neonatology.
The low levels of iron may stunt children, in Haryana over 33% children are stunted and poor mother’s health is the major contributory factor. Over 46. 8 million children in our country suffer from this condition. Poor health of women from the time of childhood and adolescence is a significant factor contributing to under-nutrition in offspring.Due to multiple factors, including poverty, lack of proper nutrition and care are the major factors for anemia in children. These children usually never regain their lost potential but may be able to lead better lives if they begin receiving nutritious food, especially macronutrients, such as fat, protein, and carbohydrates. Surely, a lot is still desired to be changed for the hungry children of Haryana.