Micronutrient Deficiency in Children

Micronutrient Deficiency
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Micronutrients, including minerals and vitamins, are essential for our body to work perfectly. For example, the human body needs minerals for healthy bone, growth, and fluid balance, whereas vitamins are required for energy, developing immunity, and blood clotting.

Why are micronutrients essential?

Micronutrients are essential because the human body does not produce these nutrients and should be taken from food.

Types of micronutrients

  1. Vitamins
  2. Water-soluble vitamins include Vitamin B-complex, which contains vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12, and vitamin C.
  3. Fat-soluble vitamins include A, D, E, and K.
  • Minerals
  • Major minerals required greater than 100mg daily, including calcium, magnesium, sodium, etc.
  • Trace minerals required less than 100mg daily, including copper, selenium, zinc, iron, etc.
  • Always remember the quantity of the minerals does not decide the importance of their function in the body.

Risk factors leading to micronutrient deficiency

There are different risk factors and causes for the development of micronutrient deficiency.

Improper diet:

The primary cause of micronutrient deficiency in children is an inadequate diet. Children become prone to diseases if they consume a diet with fewer nutrients and free radicals.


Different diseases can cause low absorption of nutrients in the gut, causing weakness, low immunity, and further complications. In addition, low absorption of nutrients can cause deficiency even after consuming a complete diet. For example, we may lose zinc and many other minerals in diarrhea.

Underlying causes:

In addition to health and improper diet, the following can be the risk factors leading to micronutrient deficiency.

  • Improper health care
  • Inadequate caring practices
  • Unhealthy household practices
  • Unhealthy environment
  • Utilization of contaminated water
  • Improper disposal of sewage water

Impacts of Micronutrient deficiency

The effects of micronutrient deficiency are so severe, and these include:

  • Diseases: Micronutrient deficiencies can lead to many conditions, naming a few, Beriberi, Xerophthalmia, Pellagra, Osteomalacia, and stunted growth.
  • Deficiency in intellectual capacity: The lack of intellectual power is severe in children with micronutrient deficiency which harms the economy and progress of the country. Mothers with iodine deficiency in their diet give birth to children with low intellectual capacity, and babies are mostly mentally abnormal.
  • Mortality and disabilities: Micronutrient deficiency is a significant cause of malnourishment which causes Marasmus and Kwashiorkor and are fatal for children.
  • Mortality among children and mothers:

 The insufferable effect of malnourishment is the death rate among children and mothers increases daily. In addition, a mother with a poor diet gives birth to an unhealthy baby at risk of dying.

  • Load on the healthcare system and caregivers: Dealing with children who have more than one micronutrient deficiency disorder becomes a burden for healthcare providers to deal with them.

How to fight micronutrient deficiency?

Micronutrient deficiency can cause malnutrition, affecting children’s development and physical growth. To avoid the harmful consequences of micronutrient deficiency, we need to understand the nutrition and intake of nutrients in the right amount. Moreover, the following are a few healthy ways to avoid such deficiencies and their harmful impacts.

  • Abduction of poverty and access to variety in the diet
  • Supplementation for the required micronutrients
  • Food fortification for required nutrients
  • Some interventional strategies for horticulture to enhance the production
  • Some educational strategies about nutrition and to educate the society about proper intake of nutrient-rich diets.

Take Home

Micronutrient deficiency is also known as hidden hunger and is very prevalent in childhood. Improper diet, inadequate health practices, or an unhealthy body are a few reasons causing micronutrient deficiencies that can cause effects both the mental and physical growth of a child. Micronutrient deficiency is the primary cause of disability and mortality in children; hence taking it seriously is the only way to fight it. Therefore, along with a complete diet and adequate health facilities, we must introduce educational programs to help people know about micronutrient deficiencies.

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