As a Mom who hears problems other Moms face, I can be sure of one thing – an average Mom’s biggest problem is her child’s nutrition. From when to start solids to managing fussy eaters to treating deficiencies – there are numerous aspects of children’s nutrition that worry Moms! But I’ve also noticed that most nutrition-related queries are focused on a child’s early year, and taper down as the child reaches middle school. This is understandable, since the maximum growth occurs in the initial years of a child’s life. However, many Moms don’t realize that their child’s second growth spurt is just as important – it’s their last chance to grow! And what is the most important nutrient necessary for growth? It’s PROTEIN!
Are you prepared for your child’s last chance to grow?
The second growth spurt in a child’s life occurs between 8 and 15 years of age. This is when you can notice a rapid increase in height, weight and overall growth. This is similar to the toddler stage when your baby got real big real fast – only this time, it’s his last chance to grow! Protein is more important than ever during this phase to ensure a healthy gain in height and weight. This is also the time to ensure your child builds enough muscle to stay strong and handle all the challenges of growing into an adult.
The Importance of Protein
Unfortunately, the state of protein in India is pretty bleak. According to a consumer survey conducted across seven Indian cities by the Indian Market Research Bureau (IMRB), 80% of Indians are not getting the required amount of protein in their diet. The situation is worse when it comes to children. According to Dr. HPS Sachdev, senior consultant of paediatrics and health nutrition at Sitaram Baratia Institute of Science and Research, protein deficiency is a problem. In school going children, it can cause difficulties in learning, memory impairment and stunted growth.
As a medical professional, I was aware of the importance of protein in a growing child’s diet. But I admit, even I hadn’t correctly estimated exactly how much protein my kids needed. Nor was I sure if they were getting the required daily amount. Our family’s diet included foods from all food groups – chicken, milk, eggs, paneer and lentils. But kids will be kids! And after all the mealtime fuss and tantrums were done with, I wasn’t sure how much was actually getting into their bodies.
The next option was the ‘health drinks’ available in the market, with various tall claims to improve children’s health. A closer examination of some popular brands revealed that on an average, 20 g of powdered mix yielded about 2 g of protein. But to get even this tiny amount, I’d have to use at least 3 teaspoons of mix, which comes with about 14 g of carbs and sugars. To get at least 90% of the daily requirement of protein, my child would have to have a great many teaspoons a day!
Make the most of your Child’s Second Growth Spurt
When you know that your child’s second growth spurt is your last chance to help him reach his full growth, such measly quantities of protein are far from enough. And it’s not just protein. Children often fall short of their daily Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for other vital nutrients like calcium, iron and important vitamins. What you need for this critical growth stage is an all-in-one solution. It should be one that tackles the glaring lack of protein in our diet while also preventing other nutritional deficiencies.
As my 8 year old approaches his second growth spurt, as well as to set the stage for a healthy adult life. I am certainly not going to take any chances with his nutrition during this critical stage. What about you – are you prepared enough to make the most of your child’s last chance to grow?