Infant and Young Child Malnutrition - Part I

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Infant and Young Child Malnutrition - Part I

  Autor dr. Molfea Camelia Data: 30.01.2006

Infant and Young Child Malnutrition - Part I

Malnutrition treatment
Aims to bring progressively the diet to caloric needs of the age. Most infants resume their rapid growth when they reach a proper diet with caloric and protein intake appropriate to their apparent age (age appropriate to size). Simultaneously drug correction of associated possible vitamin and mineral deficiencies is made (deficiency of vitamin D, calcium, iron, etc.). An important point of therapy is the prevention of undercurrent infections by epidemiological containment measures and age appropriate vaccinations.
Complex recovery therapy involves: incentive measures of psychomotor development, nutritional education of the family and economic and social support for families through the care institutions. It is recommended also the quenching by natural factors (air, sun, water). Evolution of light and medium forms (Grade I and II) PCM (protein calorie malnutrition) is good in most cases. Correction of dietary energy intake induces a "jump up", leading finally to the conditioned parameters by their genetic potential growth. Cases with a prolonged under nutrition and to which the establishment of measures for recovery lingers, may have a more difficult evolution.
Mortality in severe untreated PCM is appreciated as impressive (up to 100%). By means of current therapies mortality can be reduced below 10%. The evolution of mild protein malnutrition (PM), with appropriate remedial therapy is favorable. Severe forms of PM are burdened by a high percentage of mortality (between 10-40%). Most deaths in KWASHIORKOR children are recorded in the first 24 hours of hospitalization due to acute electrolyte disturbances or irreversible biochemical changes. In the next 10 days after onset of rehabilitation therapy, most deaths are due to systemic infections.

Prevention of malnutrition
Begins with the onset of pregnancy. A proper tracking of the evolution of pregnancy, the creation of life and work conditions (including in terms of nutrition) in pregnant women leads to premature birth control, reduction of their percentage. It was shown that every 3rd baby with a clinical form of malnutrition had low birth weight (less than 2500 g).
Special attention to children's health should be given, but also on the special support measures line- children from families with lower incomes who live in less hygienic conditions, etc. Preparation and publicizing - on the level of the network of pediatrics, as well as of the general public of nutrition recommendations. Promoting breastfeeding, at least in the first three months of life. In the case of artificial nutrition, adapted powdered milk formulas (humanized) are indicated for use, diversification should start on time (its delay runs the risk of nutritional deficiencies).

For conditioned malnutrition prevention of infections the following measures are recommended:

  • promoting natural food. Breast milk plays a protective role against infections by passive transmission of large amounts of lysozyme (antibacterial substance), secretory IgA (immunoglobulin type A), antibodies, macrophage (anti phagocyte cells with immune role for the body) and substances that have the ability of binding iron- lactoferrin - protein with a role in protection against infection with anti-infective properties;
  • vaccinations for prevention of common infections in infants and toddlers and removal of the risk of complications;
  • proper treatment once infection occurred;
  • adequate follow-up by a pediatrician of the indices of growth and development of infant and toddler during preventive visits or routine medical visits;
  • immediate initiation of nutritional recovery measures, if applicable;
  • dispensary and proper following of convalescents after a PCM serious condition to remove the risk of relapse.

Thus, malnutrition is characterized by: nutritional mistakes, infection, prematurity. Their correction means recovery.

Read the English version of this article: Infant and Young Child Malnutrition - Part I