The World Health Organization (WHO) labels growth stunting, or being too short for one’s age, as one of the most significant impediments to human development. Globally, it affects roughly 162 million children below 5 years old. Furthermore, Africa is the only region with nearly negligible changes in the percentage of stunted children since 1990.
Stunting can diminish a child’s chances of succeeding in school and it can prevent them from living a healthy, productive life.
At Save A Child International, we strive to improve the lives of African children affected by stunting. In Africa, we understand that malnutrition and lack of access to food and clean water can cause malnutrition, which in turn can affect a child’s growth. However, a study published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics shows that stunting or slowed growth doesn’t have to be permanent—it can be improved with the right dietary counseling and nutritional intervention.
As a premier children’s charitable organization in Atlanta, Georgia, we bring children and one accompanying parent over to the U.S. so the child can get world-class healthcare assistance for their condition. In this case, we ensure that each child receives the right nutritional intervention to help improve their condition. Some “growth nutrients” that can help stunting include:
The body is highly dependent on iron, particularly during periods of growth. A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal reveals that increasing iron intake can promote growth in iron-deficient children. Some iron-rich foods include beans, meat, seafood, and dark, leafy greens.
Growth requires energy. In order to catch up, underweight children need extra calories. For age-specific guidelines about children’s caloric intake, you can refer to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
According to a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, increasing an underweight, pre-pubertal child’s zinc intake can help their growth. Some good sources of zinc, include beans, nuts, seafood, red meat, fortified breakfast cereals, whole grains, and dairy products.
- Vitamin D
According to research published in The Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 40% of otherwise healthy children have low vitamin D levels. To improve a child’s vitamin D levels, healthy sun exposure and consumption of vitamin D-rich foods (i.e. dairy, fatty fish, fortified cereals, etc.) are essential. Remember, vitamin D is vital for healthy bone formation and growth.
If you are looking for African Children’s Charities in Georgia to support, Save A Child International would be honored to be one of them. Help us in our mission, “To help some of Africa’s poor and sick children to gain access to quality health care in the United States and restore their health one child at a time”.