The biggest concern for a parent today is whether their child is receiving adequate nutrition needed for growth and development. To address this concern, Abbott Nutrition conducted a survey across four metros to observe fussy eating behaviour in children. And its findings are truly alarming.
The findings of the survey suggest that seven out of 10 children in the 2-10 year age group have below-median growth parameters* (growth measured here as height and weight) and as many as 45 percent of these children are nutritionally at-risk.
Key findings of the survey:
• 70% (seven out of 10; 844 children of 1,181 survey respondents) of the children who participated in the survey had below median growth parameters (of either height or weight or both).
• A significant percentage of these children (61%) were found to be fussy eaters.
• Younger children seem to be fussier, with 61% of children in the 2-4 years age group in the survey being fussy eaters.
• Fussy eating habits was observed the most in the more affluent socio-economic classes, such as SEC A households (62%) as compared to the lower SEC C & D (54%) households.
• Strong food likes/dislikes, consuming a limited number of food items and refusal to eat vegetables and/or foods from other food groups were the top three fussy eating habits reported in the survey.
Dr Bhaskar Raju, a paediatrician at Mehta’s Hospitals, Chennai, said, “A single observation of below-median weight is probably not alarming. These findings highlight the need to track growth in children regularly to ensure they do not progressively fall below the median, which will put them at risk nutritionally."
"Many children surveyed were below the 15th percentile and at risk of undernourishment, and all its future consequences. What's more, some may be approaching the 3rd percentile, which is the WHO cut off for malnourishment," he said.
• Chennai had the highest percentage of below-median children (83%), below 15th percentile children (61%) and fussy eaters (73%).
• Mumbai observed to have a high percentage of below-median children (78% failing on either height or weight or both) and below 15th percentile children (45%, nutritionally at-risk). Mumbai had the lowest percentage of fussy eaters (36%) but the proportion of fussy eaters falling below the 15th percentile on weight was the highest (45%).
• New Delhi had 67% of respondents below-median growth parameters, 38% were below the 15th percentile and 64% of the city’s respondents were observed to be fussy eaters.
• Kolkata had the lowest percentage of children with below-median growth (56%) and children below 15th percentile (34%). However, a high percentage of them were found to be fussy eaters (73%).
How to ascertain a child’s growth?
If a child exhibits any of the aforementioned behaviours, chances are that s/he may be a fussy eater.
*Below-median growth parameters refer to below-median height or below-median weight or below median height and weight, for age as per World Health Organisation Child Growth Standards. The Indian Academy of Paediatrics advises the use of WHO growth charts for monitoring growth in Indian children.
Updated Date: Apr 09, 2014 17:29:44 IST