Sunday, November 17, 2013

Preventing Anemia: Why a Balanced Diet is Important

Anemia is a global problem. It is estimated that 818 million people around the world suffer from Anemia, including children. The highest prevalence of anemia is among pre-school children (47%).
Over half of those suffering from anemia reside in Asia, but there are enough anemia patients all over the world for it to be considered a global problem.

As explained in this article, it is easy to prevent common cases of anemia through a balanced diet.

What is Anemia?
Anemia is the name given to a group of diseases characterized by a low count of hemoglobin (the metalloprotein responsible for carrying oxygen in the blood) or red blood cells in the body.

How is Anemia Related to Nutrition?
Nutritional deficiency is one of the two common causes of anemia (the other cause being infection). Deficiency in iron, folic acid and vitamin B12 – all nutrients involved in the synthesis of hemoglobin – can lead to anemia. Of the three nutrients, iron deficiency is the most common problem associated with cases of anemia, and if children who suffer from it are untreated, it can cause mental and physical delays. However, iron deficiency can be prevented by making sure that the child's diet is balanced.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Anemia?
Though there are signs and symptoms that indicate that a person suffers from anemia, almost all of them are very general. As a result, the condition is often undetected among patients, and especially children. Parents to children should pay close attention to the following signs:
  • Behavioral problems and learning difficulties
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Pale skin
  • Lack of appetite

What is a Good, Balanced Diet for a Child that can Prevent Anemia?
For infants, the best diet should consist of breast-milk that contains sufficient amounts of iron that serve as a strong preventive measure against anemia. If the infant is not breast-fed, extra care should be taken to make sure that the formula given to him or her contains a sufficient amount of iron – parents should check the labels of the formula and consult a doctor for advice on the best products available.
Older children's diet should consist of strong sources of iron, including:

* Eggs
* Red Meat
* Potatoes
* Tomatoes
* Raisins

Again, parents should check labels of food products they buy for the amount of iron they contain. Adolescents who go on a diet should be directed to a dietician who will advise them about proper eating habits, including sufficient sources of iron.
While maintaining a balanced diet is important, it does not substitute the need for medical examination and treatment. It is highly recommended that children undergo periodic blood tests that can quickly show blood count changes.
See the following video for additional information:

More info:
What is Anemia and How Can I Tell if My Child is Anemic?
What is Nuritional Deficiency Anemia?
Nutritional Anemia in Young Children with Focus on Asia and India

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