Nutrition for 0-2 year old children Essay Example

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Nutrition 4


Human diets have changed with time throughout the evolution and history. Comparing the current diets, the pre agricultural hunter-gathers diets of our Paleolithic ancestors were based on wild and plants foods and were much higher in protein and lower carbohydrates while todays lifestyles has changed all this to more proteins and carbohydrates. A healthy diet must meet human needs for energy and all essential nutrients (Burns & Irvine, 2003). The diet must meet the energy requirement for energy needed to balance energy expenditure so as the maintain body size, body composition. This includes the energy needed for optimal growth and development of children, decomposition of tissues during pregnancy and for secretion of milk during lactation consistent with the good health of mother and child (Smith et al, 2000).

The current advice is for mothers to avoid any other fluids for the newborns; they have to concentrate on breastfeeding. When a child is breastfed properly, it is a clear laid foundation for the immune of the infant life. A good composition of the right nutrients in the diets of these group means that the child is secure and her/his body can be able to fight against any disease even at a later age. However, there are some women who do not produce enough breast milk early enough and this can result to newborn hypoglycemia. In many cases, children born are reported to have babies with low birth weight. This puts them at a risk of illnesses and death from infections from pneumonia and diarrhea, poor growth, development of chronic diseases. This is caused by maternal under nutrition which in return results to poor fetal growth. Malnutrition is the contributing factor of half the deaths of infants. This is from deaths from diarrhea, measles, acute respiratory infection, meningitis and malaria. Malnutrition impairs the immune system and these results to infections more frequently (Smith & Smith, 2003).

Many families have factors that influence the way children are fed. Buy these I mean that, there are economical circumstances which affect the way the nutritional value required by children is combined in their food. For the rich, the children don’t suffer malnutrition for they can afford but for the poor and with the current financial climate and rising cost of living, both parents are forced t work and this means that children are introduced to other liquids and foods at an early age. Some cause the children have calories imbalance and result to obesity. However, mothers with babies are working to meet the needs of the family. This is caused by unpaid maternity leave and therefore they report back to work immediately they give birth, interfering with the breastfeeding and a strain on child/parent relationship (Groos et al, 2000).

However, there are other parents who are not working and thus they cannot raise the finances to have their children eat well or get all the required nutrients for optimal growth. Consequently, there has been a partial erosion of traditional family and neighborhood support networks due to family mobility in search for affordable housing. So for parents with small children going through all these, they result to having poor social support networks and therefore are more vulnerable to living lives that are below standard as far as their diets are concerned.

It is also worth noting that there is an increase of parents who own experience of being parented was compromised and therefore have difficulty parenting their own children. It is a fact that the ability to bring up a child has a greater reliance on how the parent was brought up. Family break ups, parental mental health problems parental drugs/alcohol abuse child abuse and neglect, foster placements and many more. For the case of stolen generation of aboriginal children, their capacity to act as responsible parents for their own children was interacted by removing them from their own parents and communities(Alsop-Shields & Dugdale, 1995).


Alsop-Shields, L. Dugdale A. E. (1995). Influence of families on the growth of children in

an Aboriginal community. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health
31(5): 392-394.

Burns J, Irvine J (2003) Nutrition and growth. In: Thomson N, ed. The health of Indigenous Australians . South Melbourne: Oxford University Press:75-92

Groos A, Leonard D, Gabriel R (2000) Breastfeeding and infant nutrition: what more is needed to meet our targets. Australian Journal of Nutrition and Dietetics ;57(1):7-8

Smith RM, Smith PA (2003) An assessment of the composition and nutrient content of an Australian Aboriginal hunter-gatherer diet. Australian Aboriginal Studies;2:39-54

Smith RM, Smith PA, McKinnon M, Gracey M (2000)Birthweights and growth of infants in five Aboriginal communities. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health; 24(2):124-35