Food based approaches best for overcoming micronutrient deficiency, say experts


Nashik : According to experts, the best way to overcome micronutrient deficiency is by adopting food based approaches which are essentially food-based interventions that include diet diversity and consuming foods that are nutritionally enhanced.

Experts found that significant number of children do not receive the recommended amount of nutrition due to limited awareness and unavailability of food items that are nutrient dense and balanced. Micronutrients includes vitamins and minerals which are very essential for the overall growth and development of an infant and their deficiency can have long term impact on health.

For infants, exclusive breastfeeding till the age of six months is an effective way to ensure that their nutritional demand is being fulfilled. However, after an infant is six months old, he can no longer rely solely on breastfeeding and needs other food sources to meet daily nutritional requirements. After 6 months, it is necessary that the complementary food is fed to infants is rich in micronutrients. Adopting food based strategies like dietary diversification and food fortification are one of the best ways to ensure that the infant does not suffer from any lack of micronutrients.

“Ensuring optimal nutrition through complementary feeding that includes fortified food/grain and diet diversification helps in the overall growth of the infant, says Dr. Anand Makharia, Pediatrician, Child Care Centre.

Including all micronutrients from one or two food groups is not feasible. To meet the nutritional needs, regular intake of various food items from different groups in adequate quantities and variety is required. These might include varied cereals, fruit and vegetables. Further enhancing the nutritional content of food items being consumed significantly improve the nutritional value of the food and provide huge health benefits with minimal risk.

“Various studies point out to the fact that Indian infants lack sufficient intake of minerals and vitamins in their diet and as a result their overall growth and immunity is compromised. Therefore, ensuring complete nutrition through diet diversification and food fortification goes a long way in maintaining their health,” Dr. Makharia also added.