Did you know research studies show that nutrition in a child’s early years is linked to their health and academic performance in later years? Pakistan has been reported to have one of the highest levels of prevalence of child malnutrition compared to other developing counties. Malnutrition is a serious threat to children’s health and nearly 10 million children suffer from Chronic Malnutrition in Pakistan.
How your children eat today will have a deep impact on their health throughout teenage and adulthood. Consuming nutritious foods helps children and teens grow, develop, do well academically and feel good about themselves. Good nutrition also helps prevent child and teen issues such as eating disorders, obesity, dental cavities, and iron-deficiency anemia.
But what is a nutritious diet? In nutritious diet is the sum of food consumed by a person that completes nutrition required for ingestion and absorption of vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids from protein and essential fatty acids from fat-containing food, also food energy in the form of carbohydrate, protein, and fat.
As till 5 years, it’s the development period of children nutritious diet is very important for them because better-nourished children have an enhanced natural ability to fight infection. under-nutrition has been proven to decrease a child’s activity levels, social interactions, curiosity, and cognitive functioning.
For example, iron is a vital component of brain tissue, iron deficiency makes nerve impulses move slower and may cause permanent damage to a child’s brain, especially in the first two years of his/her life; iron deficiency during this time is linked to behavior changes and delayed psychomotor development. However, too much iron also presents problems. This state is also referred to as Malnutrition. Malnutrition is a condition that results from a nutrient deficiency or its overconsumption.
Unfortunately, our country is suffering from the extremely poor nutritional status of children under five years of age. At a national level, almost 40% of these children are underweight. Over half the children are affected by stunting and about 9% by wasting.
Malnutrition in Pakistan is a complex problem that presents across a continuum of poor nutrition, from under-nutrition due to deficiencies in energy, protein, and micronutrients to problems of overweight, obesity, and non-communicable diseases resulting from poor quality, energy-dense, and micro nutrient-poor diets and low physical activity.
Over the last decade, Pakistan’s progress in child malnutrition has not been encouraging. Even though programs like WHO Nutrition Program have started which focuses on addressing all forms of malnutrition through strengthening and thoroughly evaluating multi-sector programs and policies that aim to improve the diets, nutritional status, and health of mothers, infants, and young children at critical stages of the life cycle, but still there is a long way to go.
As one of the major reason for poor nutritional status appears to be associated with the overall level of development of the provinces, being lowest in Punjab and highest in Baluchistan, the least developed province. That shows the rural and less educated people are highly affected and they don’t really know the solution to the problem nor they have the resources and financial aid to solve this problem.
Here the question is that “Is telemedicine a possible solution” for this issue?
Telemedicine refers specifically to remote clinical services. Telemedicine let health care professionals assist, diagnose and treat patients remotely via electronic information and telecommunication service. It aids long-distance patient/clinician to contact and care remotely.
Through telemedicine, we can reach to wider range of people from different areas of the country who need help and don’t have medical facilities at the moment. Through telemedicine awareness about the importance of nutrition in children can be created also proper appointments and consultations with the doctor can be made to aid this problem. And the best part is that this solution does not need big investments and no one need to step out of their comfort zone.
InstaCare.pk is already working to solve this problem, with the help of our Nutritional TeleCamps and our online doctor consultation facility. 100’s of such children along their mothers are getting nutrition consultation from a nutritionist who is consulting from her home.