Submitted to: Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition
Publication Type: Review article
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/1/2006
Publication Date: 12/13/2006
Citation: Allen, L.H. 2006. Causes of nutrition-related public health problems of preschool children: Available diet. Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition. 43:S8-S12. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: The primary goal of this review is to examine the timing and nature of dietary inadequacy during the first five years of life. An important issue is that many children in developing countries are already nutritionally depleted by the end of the first year of life, because maternal undernutrition can cause low fetal accumulation of nutrient stores, and secretion of inadequate amounts of some micronutrients in breast milk. Improvement of maternal diet and micronutrient status is required to remedy this situation. During the period of complementary feeding, most households may be able to provide their young children with sufficient energy and protein from home-produced complementary foods, but many do not feed foods with an adequate energy density or sufficient meals per day. Inadequate micronutrient intakes and resulting deficiencies are very common in preschoolers due to lack of sufficient animal source foods, and have been associated with delayed child development. Dietary diversity is an especially important determinant of micronutrient intakes when animal source food intake is low. Interventions with animal source foods have produced improvements in growth, micronutrient status, cognitive performance and activity of children. While much is now known about the role of inadequate diets in preschooler malnutrition, on a global scale the ability of households to apply this knowledge to improve the diets of their children is still limited.