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The dangers of protein deficiency in children

Proteins are among the large and complex molecules responsible for many delicate functions in the body, as they consist of long chains of hundreds or thousands of amino acids, and protein is produced by combining 20 different types of amino acids, and it also determines each of the structural structure. Three-dimensional for each protein, and its function from the sequence of these amino acids, and protein deficiency occurs when the quantities of energy gained, or when the quality of amino acids decreases, or because of an increase in the need for nutrients during illness, and it should be noted the need to obtain adequate amounts of protein, especially during the two stages Childhood and adolescence; To ensure adequate and healthy growth.

Protein sources:
Where protein sources vary between plant and animal sources, and the following is an explanation of these sources:
  • Animal protein sources: Protein from animal sources contains all the essential amino acids that the body needs, and is considered a complete source of protein, such as meat, poultry, whey, fish and seafood.
  •  Vegetarian Sources: This group contains lentils, chickpeas, hemp seeds, tofu, nuts, quinoa, nutritional yeast, tempeh, black beans and peanut butter.
Tips to boost children's protein nutrition:
The nutrition of children depends on the same principles as the nutrition of adults, in terms of the need for the same nutrients of minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates, protein, and fats, but the quantities vary according to age, and here are some tips to increase the proportion of protein and energy in the child's diet:
  1. Offer small frequent meals and snacks to the child every 2 to 3 hours.
  2. Constantly storing high-energy and protein foods at home.
  3.  Replace low-fat foods with high-fat creamy foods.
  4.  Feeding the baby in a fun and enjoyable way, avoiding distraction and distraction.
  5.  Choose foods rich in protein and energy for all meals and snacks.

The dangers of protein deficiency in children:
 Protein deficiency in children causes many health problems, which are as follows:
Stunted growth:
Where protein is necessary for the growth of the body, and it is also necessary to maintain muscle and bone mass, so protein deficiency affects especially negatively in children, due to the need for their bodies to constantly feed for their growth, and stunting is one of the most common signs of malnutrition among children, as statistics indicated in 2013 To "stunted growth in nearly 161 million children, and observational studies showed a strong relationship between low protein intake and poor growth."

Malnutrition with protein:
As it is considered a serious case of severe protein deficiency, which causes stomach distention; As a result of fluid retention in the body, which is one of the most common conditions among children, especially those without adequate nutrition after stopping breastfeeding, and these cases need immediate medical care, and swelling and fluid retention are among the main signs and symptoms of kwashiorkor, which usually appear Initially in the legs, and later in the entire body, including the face, there are also some other symptoms of this disease.

Where protein deficiency in children causes another disease known as scaly or marasmus, but it differs from kwashiorkor because it is considered one of the forms of malnutrition caused by a lack of calories, and its symptoms include a thin bone face, sunken eyes, dry skin and hair, protruding ribs and shoulders, and dizziness. Continuous, chronic diarrhea, irritability, recurrent dehydration, lethargy, and frequent infection, and that acute protein deficiency may cause bloating, fatty liver, skin degeneration, and increase the severity of infection.

Causes of protein deficiency in children:
The cause of protein deficiency in children is not clear, but there are some reasons that may be associated with the occurrence of this condition, such as eating foods that consist mainly of corn, cassava, or rice, and a lack of nutritional antioxidants, and kwashiorkor usually occurs due to Lack of nutrients and proteins in the diet of children under the age of 4 years, and after stopping breastfeeding, it increases in areas with poor food supplies and high rates of malnutrition, in addition to some cases due to eating disorders such as loss of appetite and aging.