#Justin: Protein-rich foods can reduce stunted growth in Indian children

#Justin: Protein-rich foods can reduce stunted growth in Indian children

By simply including protein-rich foods in your child's daily diet, you can prevent him from stunted growth. And if you haven't been doing so, here's why you must start

The Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute in Baltimore, US, has sounded a warning bell for all parents in the developing nations including India. It’s recent study on nutritional deficiency has revealed that children in such countries are not getting enough protein in their diet, leading to their stunted growth.

What the study says

The research, led by Dr Richard Semba, found that all children living in poor conditions in Africa, Asia and Latin America, had stunted growth. Besides this observation, Dr Semba also pointed at the following observations that were first published in journal EBioMedicine.

  • The most characteristic change in growth pattern was short stature
  • Lack of protein in their diets prevented such children from reaching their cognitive potential growth
  • Such children were also more susceptible to illnesses and infection and shortened their overall life span
  • Between 15 and 20 percent of the children who were stunted had low levels of essential amino acid in their bodies

How this research was conducted

The researchers collected blood samples of more than 313 children, aged between 1 year and 5 years from six villages in rural southern Malawi. They used an analytical chemistry technique called liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. This measured the blood levels of amino acids, as well as other essential compounds in blood samples. Participants’ height and weight were also recorded.

Their study has proved that a diet filled with proteins can reduce the numbers of children with stunted growth and positively affect multiple metabolic pathways.

Benefits of including protein in your child's diet

Essential amino acids cannot be synthesized by the body and must be obtained from diet. Therefore, it is critical to include protein-rich foods in your child's daily diet. Here are several other benefits of consuming a protein-rich diet.

  • Protein develops strong bones
  • Maintains healthy body weight in children
  • Keeps the body at bay from lifestyle diseases like diabetes, cholesterol and even strokes and cancer
  • Encourages muscle strength
  • Repairs torn or weakened tissues
  • Used to make enzymes and hormones

The researchers pointed that the best food sources of essential amino acids are animal-derived foods, such as eggs, milk and meat. In fact, soybeans also are a good source.

If you have any insights, questions or comments regarding the article on protein-rich foods, please share them in our Comment box below. 

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Written by

Deepshikha Punj

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