Nutrition is not just eating to fill the stomach. The nutrients in the food is responsible for maintaining good health and must be consumed in adequate amount.
Today we are looking at Hidden hunger also known as micronutrients deficiency.
Hidden hunger is a form of undernutrition which results when ones intake and absorption of minerals (such as zinc, iodine and iron) are too low to sustain good health and development.
Although one can eat and be full, look round and big but the body can still be hungry for essential vitamins and minerals.
With hunger, the body will show signs and symptoms but with *hidden hunger*, the body show no visible signs until the last stage when several effects on the body has been done.
Factors contributing to Hidden Hunger
• Poor diet (Quality and safety)
• Increased micro-nutrients at some stages of life eg. Pregnancy, lactating and children under 5
• Diseases and infections
Effect of Hidden hunger
• Iodine deficiency can lead to cretinism ( a condition in babies that result in physical deformities and learning disabilities. In adults it causes goiter
• Vitamin A and Zinc deficiency weakens immune system and cause poor child health
• Lack of Zinc can also cause poor growth and can lead to stunting (low height for age)
• Iron deficiency causes anaemia, impaired mental development and poor motor skills, prematurity and low birth weight
• Vitamin A deficiency can lead to night blindness (difficulty seeing at night or in dim light)
Solutions to Hidden hunger
• Diversifying diet - Feeding different varieties of food such as cereals, legumes, fruits, vegetables, animal source food.
• Education on infant and young child feeding, food preparation, storage to prevent nutrient loss.
• Fortification - Use of fortified foods like iodized salt, vitamin A enriched cooking oil etc
• Supplementation- such as sending your child for vitamin A every 6 months till child is 5 years:
• Eating a well balanced diet especially rich in fruits and vegetables
• Seeking early treatment of diseases and infections.
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