What every family and community should know about Child Growth (part 5)

The following is lifted from Facts for Life, Philippine National Edition, published by the Philippine Information Agency in cooperation with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)

Supporting Information on Child Growth

  1. A child under three years of age needs food five or six times a day.

A child’s stomach is smaller than an adult’s, so a child cannot eat as much as an adult at one meal. But its energy needs, for its size, are greater. So, the problem is how to get enough energy food into the child. The answer is:

Feed the child frequently – five or six times a day;

Enrich the child’s ‘lugao’ with mashed vegetables and a little oil or fat.

A child’s food should not be left standing for hours. Germs can grow in it which may make the child ill. As it is usually not possible to cook fresh food for a child five or six times a day, dried foods or snacks should be given in between meals – fruits, bread, biscuits, nuts, coconut, bananas or whatever clean food is easily available. Breastmilk is also an ideal ‘snack’ and is always clean and free from germs.

  1. A child under three years of age needs a small amount of extra fat or oil added to the family’s ordinary food.

The family’s everyday food needs to be enriched to meet the special enery needs of the growing child. This means adding mashed vegetables and small amounts of fats or oils – butter, margarine, vegetable oil, soya oil, coconut oil, corn oil, ground-nut-oil, or crushed nuts.

Breastmilk also enriches a child’s diet and should continue, if possible, until well into the second year of a child’s life.

Families can easily grow green leafy, yellow and other vegetables rich in vitamins and minerals right in their own backyard.

Pre-schoolers, and pregnanat or lactating women are amont those where the risk of nutritional difficiency is greatest.

(To be continued)