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Nutrition and Child Development - Global Perspectives

by Jacqueline Hayden
May/June 2002
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Article Link: http://www.childcareexchange.com/article/nutrition-and-child-development-global-perspectives/5014538/

Nutrition is a global concern. The rights of all individuals to appropriate and adequate nutrition are embedded in no less than six universal proclamations, including the 1990 World Declaration and Plan of Action on the Survival, Protection, and Development of Children.

Most of us know that nutrition is a critical component for healthy development. We are not surprised to hear about the relationship of nutrition to sound bodies, energy, strong bones and teeth, clear skin, reduced risk for infectious diseases, and other physical and biomedical outcomes. What we may be less aware of is that nutrition is also related to neurological, psychosocial, and mental health and that nutritional deprivations in the early years (and pre-natally) can have deleterious effects on all aspects of health and well being throughout the life cycle.

Nutritional requirements of human beings fall into two major categories: macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients include the proteins, carbohydrates, and fats which are necessary for survival. Micronutrients consist of vitamins and minerals now known to be essential for healthy human development. Micronutrients cannot be synthesised nor stored by the body. They must be ingested on a continuous basis. The most important micronutrients include vitamin A, iodine, iron, and zinc.

Micronutrients and Consequences of ...

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