As adults, we feel blessed and happy to stay on a healthy weight range, even more glad when we measure below recommended weight numbers keeping in mind the figure-hugging dresses that look lovely on us. But the same underweight trend doesn’t seem to please us when its evident on our newborn. The society sticks by certain rules and regulations and expects each of us to follow it to the dot. Babies are no exceptions to this-we encourage our little ones to look fat and plump; a normal-weight child isn’t adorable as per society norms and an underweight infant is a sin! Mothers of underweight children are constantly reprimanded to feed them with fat-enriched foods. Looks aside, in what else ways does an underweight infant face trouble?
As soon as the baby is born, his/her height, weight, head circumference and APGAR score measurements are taken to determine the infant’s health. Any deviation from normal ranges calls for attention as it can affect the growth of the child in different ways. That’s why the pregnant mother-to-be is regularly advised to eat healthy food in healthy portions to help the baby grow normally inside the womb-not too much or too little as either comes with its own set of problems. Heavy foetuses increase the likelihood of C-section deliveries and bring about health consequences to the child in different ways. Likewise, we now have evidence that low birth weight kids are likelier to suffer from cardiovascular risk factors as they grow up.
Cardiovascular disease was initially thought to be a man’s disease as mostly it was men who suffered from it but now women are equally victimized by the problem. Again, cardiovascular disease which was assumed to be an adult’s health problem seems to break this rule too as many of the risk factors are observed in a greater number of children in the recent years. Researchers from the West Virginia University assessed data of 20,000 kids born full term studying in the fifth grade. Every child’s birth weight, his/her BMI in fifth grade, triglyceride levels and cholesterol types were monitored and noted down. Children with low birth weight suffered from higher triglyceride levels and higher levels of bad cholesterol compared to good cholesterol even after considering various factors. Such levels are direct implications of higher risk of heart attack, stroke, peripheral artery disease, atherosclerosis and other similar conditions. ‘Good’ and ‘bad’ cholesterol have different implications on the body-for more information on cholesterol, its types, the different foods rich in different types and all other details please visit www.firsteatright.com.
Such complications can be avoided by attending to the fetus’ growth inside the womb. Take adequate care during pregnancy to reduce the chances of suboptimal foetal growth. But once the baby is born and it measures to be a low birth weight infant its not necessary to give up on it and lose hope. Feed them properly, keep monitoring their growth, educate them on the need for nutritious and healthy eating habits, exercise and avoidance of smoking/drinking as they grow. Such habit formations go well into adulthood and become your child’s regular lifestyle practices.
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.