Bangladesh faces many challenges in feeding age-appropriate nutritious food to growing children.
Many parents are not well informed about when and how to give complementary foods to their babies in addition to breast milk. But it is very important to avoid malnutrition during the early development of the child.
Babies must be breastfed until six months of age to ensure nutrients and build a strong immune system. By the time the baby is six months old, he should be fed regular family foods like cereals and vegetables and eggs. A child should be fed breast milk along with other family foods till the age of two years.
This is called complementary feeding. Through this, the baby gets used to eating family food from mother’s milk only. It is very important to meet the growing nutritional needs of the baby. This phase meets the baby’s nutritional needs from six months to 24 months of age and is a time when physical and mental development occurs.
Nutritional deficiencies and illnesses at this stage are responsible for high rates of undernutrition in children under the age of five worldwide.
However, parents have very limited knowledge about starting complementary foods at the right time, frequency of feeding with age, and what changes should be made to the menu.
Due to food insecurity in the family, a quarter of the children of the entire population cannot be given the food they need. Households with limited income cannot always afford animal products such as fish and meat.
Age-appropriate complementary feeding rates are low nationally and alarmingly low in some areas, such as urban slums.
Studies have shown that Bangladeshi mothers often prefer formula food for their children and face difficulties in convincing their husbands of the need to buy fish and meat.
Some communities have superstitions about feeding fish and meat to children. Sometimes these foods are not given to small children even if they are available in sufficient quantity at home.
Within an hour of birth, the newborn must be fed with the mother’s breast milk, known as ‘sal dudh’. This milk contains many components that protect newborns from common diseases such as diarrhea and pneumonia.
But the number of families who take this early measure and breastfeed their children up to two years is still very low. There is also inequality in terms of geographical location and economic status. In Sylhet division the rate of feeding ‘Shal Dudh’ to children is 73.5 percent but in Khulna it is 47.3 percent.
There is also a significant gap in infant formula feeding between mothers from poor and rich families. In the case of poor mothers, this rate is 48.1 percent, but in the case of mothers from rich families, it is 62.5 percent.
Although Bangladesh has achieved the target set by the World Health Organization regarding breastfeeding, it is decreasing alarmingly. From 2011 to 2014, the rate of regular breastfeeding decreased from 90 percent to 87 percent.
UNICEF is training health-care workers in partnership with the government to improve their skills in counseling and responding quickly to people’s needs.
These health workers work at the very edge and demonstrate methods of ensuring child nutrition to mothers, providers and family members.
UNICEF is assisting the government in setting standards for age-specific child feeding, frequency and cleanliness of complementary feeding.
UNICEF trains health workers to acquire skills such as breast feeding and conservation, and how to solve breast problems.
Health workers are also trained to develop skills to review, analyze and evaluate the current activities of the family. They also acquire the ability to use information to determine programs aimed at changing social behavior.
UNICEF is also working to increase the rate of mothers receiving prenatal nutrition advice.
UNICEF is also looking at increasing the number of people receiving nutrition counselling. Apart from this, importance is also being given to increase the rate of ‘Vitamin A’ feeding of children aged 6 months to 5 years.
As part of efforts to address the needs of women and children in urban areas, UNICEF emphasizes the protection of their rights at work.
Under the ‘Mothers at Work’ initiative, UNICEF encourages employers to adopt family-friendly policies for factory workers. A minimum of seven standards have been set in this regard: designated space for breastfeeding, breaks for breastfeeding, provision of childcare, leave for workers who are going to be parents, cash and medical benefits, job security and safe work arrangements.
Why is it important for children to have a good diet?
Children need a healthy balanced diet containing foods from each food group so they get a wide range of nutrients to help them stay healthy. Children’s appetites vary depending on age, growth spurts, and how much activity they have done so it’s important to provide appropriately sized portions.
Why is eating healthy important for the future?
People with healthy eating patterns live longer and are at lower risk for serious health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. For people with chronic diseases, healthy eating can help manage these conditions and prevent complications.
How can you encourage children to make healthy food choices?
Whether you have a toddler or a teen, here are five of the best strategies to improve nutrition and encourage smart eating habits:
- Have regular family meals.
- Serve a variety of healthy foods and snacks.
- Be a role model by eating healthy yourself.
- Avoid battles over food.
- Involve kids in the process.
Why is healthy food important to students?
Healthy students are better learners. Research shows that eating habits [PDF – 480 KB] and healthy behaviors are connected to academic achievement. Student participation in the School Breakfast Program is associated with better grades and standardized test scores, reduced absences, and improved memory.
How does choice of food impact a child’s well being and future development?
Eating well can support a child’s healthy growth and development into adulthood and may even play a role in lowering the risk of suicide in young people. If your child has already been diagnosed with a mental health problem, a healthy diet can help your child to manage the symptoms and regain control of their health.
Why is diet important for children’s growth and development?
Children require lots of nutrients to help their bodies develop all the necessary functions and tissues they need, and the quality (or lack thereof) of these nutrients can have a big impact on health. Everything from basic brain function to behavioral patterns can be influenced by the diet a child eats.
How do you promote good health and nutrition in child development?
- Be a role model. Teach and show them that eating healthy is a benefit for you too.
- Give them choices. Give them two healthy options and let them choose.
- Get them involved in the process. Cooking is a great way to promote healthy eating habits. …
- Blend it up!
How can we improve children health?
- Give Your Kids Healthy Meals and Snacks. …
- Keep Your Kids Active. …
- Promote Proper Sleeping Hours and Sleeping Patterns. …
- Provide Your Kids with a Healthy and Loving Environment. …
- Get Check-Ups and Immunizations.
Why is children’s health and wellbeing important?
Why is it important to promote children’s mental health and wellbeing? Promoting children and young people’s wellbeing is a key part of keeping them safe, helping them develop and ensuring they have positive outcomes into adulthood (Public Health England, 2021).
How do you promote a healthy lifestyle in early years?
- making mealtimes relaxed and comfortable.
- sitting and eating with the children.
- talking in positive ways about the healthy foods the children are eating.
- encouraging fussy eaters to try new foods.
- being a good role model with the foods you eat, and.
What is meant by healthy eating in early years?
Healthy eating means eating a variety of foods so that your child gets the nutrients (such as protein, carbohydrate, fat, vitamins, and minerals) he or she needs for normal growth. If your child regularly eats a wide variety of basic foods, he or she will be well-nourished.
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