Common Nutrient Deficiencies that Affect Children

Common Nutrient Deficiencies that Affect Children
Image Source

Adequate nutrition plays a crucial role in child development and growth. Nutrition helps enhance bone health, and heart and brain function, and aids in the rapid development of the body. A diet of nutrient-rich foods is essential for the optimal and natural functioning and development of your child’s mental and physical capacities.

The absence of these fundamental nutrients can cause a nutrient deficiency in the child. According to the WHO, nutrition deficiency or malnutrition occurs because of imbalances in a person’s energy levels or nutrients. It occurs when a child reaches critically low levels of vital nutrients, like, vitamins and minerals in their body. 

Our body requires essential nutrients, like vitamins and minerals, to function properly. Your child can face several mental, physical, and behavioral issues if deficient in these nutrients. Symptoms of nutrient deficiency include pale skin, fatigue, weakness, and poor appetite. 

If your child is showing signs of nutrition deficiency, it can be countered with a balanced diet. According to the NCBI, nutrient deficiencies can cause chronic long-term problems: rickets, iron deficiency anemia, goiter, obesity, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, and osteoporosis, just to name a few.  

If you are concerned about your child’s nutritional deficiencies and want to know more about the topic, here is a rundown of the most common nutrient deficiencies:

  1. Birth injuries:

Several birth injuries can also cause nutritional deficiencies in children. 

According to the NCBI, diets low in folic acid or vitamin B12 during pregnancy can cause neural tube defects in the baby. 

Other factors like the malpractice birth injury can also cause several nutrient deficiencies and diseases in the child, for example, Cerebral palsy or Erb’s palsy.

However, if your child suffers from these consequences getting a birth injury lawyer can help you get justice and financial compensation for their treatment. 

For nutrient requirements, Nestle Health Science states that it depends on physical impairments, feeding difficulties, body composition, and physical activity levels of the child.   

  1. Iron deficiency:

Iron is a mineral and is a vital part of red blood cells. It is responsible for binding to hemoglobin and transporting oxygen to your cells and organs. According to Oxford Academic, iron is critical in energy metabolism and nervous system development during the early stages of life. 

During the growing stages of life, the body needs loads of fuel to grow and sustain itself. According to NCBI, early childhood development needs high iron demand to support processes like blood volume expansion, brain development, tissue growth, and generating an immune response.

Iron deficiency is a typical nutrient deficiency. According to Healthline, iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency affecting 25% worldwide. It can cause numerous problems in children, and the most particular cause of iron deficiency is anemia.

 Additionally, iron deficiency in children may also lead to poor gum health and a higher risk of acquiring periodontal diseases. If you’d like to know more about this, you may visit your child’s dentist. However, if you don’t have one yet, searching for terms like “dentist near me Kelowna” or “dentist near me” should help in finding one.

According to Healthline, anemia causes a decrease in the count of red blood cells and oxygen capacity in your body. Symptoms include pale skin, weakness, fatigue, and weakened immune and brain function. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture states that the best sources of heme iron to cater to iron deficiency are red meat, organ meat, shellfish, and canned sardines.

  1. Vitamin D deficiency:

Vitamin D is a molecule that is essential for regulating genes and promoting bone health. It is fat-soluble, which means it can easily cross the cell membranes, and it acts upon almost every cell in the body. 

Cholesterol is a molecule that produces Vitamin D after exposure to sunlight in adults and children. A deficiency of this mineral can cause problems with bone health. According to NIH, vitamin D deficiency in children can cause growth delay and rickets (soft bones). 

Hence, NIH states that cod liver oil, egg yolks, fatty fish, and sunlight are the best dietary sources for this vitamin.

  1. Calcium deficiency:

Calcium is an essential mineral that is found in bones and teeth. It is a crucial element for promoting healthy bones and helps in the overall development of the child. The excess calcium in your blood is stored in the bones and is released when needed.

Calcium deficiency manifests itself in the form of peculiar symptoms: According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, low calcium can cause irritability, muscle cramps, numbness, dry hair, short stature, etc. Healthline further states that children with a severe deficiency may get rickets.  

According to Food Central, boned fish, dark green vegetables, and dairy products are the known dietary sources of this vitamin.

  1. Iodine deficiency:

Iodine is also a significant trace mineral that plays a role in natural thyroid function and the production of thyroid hormones. 

Iodine deficiency is prevalent around the world. According to NCBI, iodine deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies, affecting nearly a third of the world’s population.

In children, iodine deficiency can cause several health issues. According to WHO, iodine deficiency can start before birth and affects a child’s mental health and survival. During neonatal time, childhood, and adolescence, iodine deficiency can cause hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. Furthermore, its insufficiency in pregnancy can cause stillbirth, spontaneous abortions, and cretinism. Iodine deficiency also causes mental impairment in children, which reduces intellectual capacity at home and school. 

To supplement iodine U.S. Department of Agriculture states that the best dietary sources for iodine intake are seaweed, fish, eggs, and kelp. According to NCBI, table salt with iodine has also reduced many iodine deficiencies.

  1. Vitamin B12 deficiency:

Vitamin B12 is of prime importance to the human body as it helps in blood formation and brain and nerve function. According to NCBI, vitamin B12 is essential for brain development, neuronal myelination, and cognitive function in children. 

However, your body does not naturally form Vitamin B12, and you will need to take it from food or supplements. According to U.S. News, vitamin B12 deficiency is seen in children eating plant-based diets with no extra supplementation of vitamin B12. 

Symptoms of Vitamin B12 insufficiency include megaloblastic anemia, low white blood cells and platelets, numbness, developmental delays, and spinal cord degeneration. 

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the dietary sources for vitamin B12 are shellfish, organ meat, milk products, eggs, and meat.

  1. Vitamin A deficiency:

Vitamin A is a mineral known for forming and maintaining healthy skin, teeth, eyes, bones, and cell membranes. The human body does not naturally formulate Vitamin A, and diet or supplements can help you maintain its levels within the body. 

Vitamin A is known to prevent permanent blindness, and it is essential for the growth, development, and survival of the child. According to UNICEF, vitamin A deficiency can cause preventable childhood blindness and increase the risk of death from early-life illnesses, like diarrhea. 

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, dietary sources of vitamin A are organ meat, fish liver oil, sweet potatoes, carrots, and dark green leafy vegetables.


Nutrient deficiencies can occur in any child regardless of age or gender. However, proper nutrition and dietary monitoring are critical for keeping your kid healthy and growing. If you have trouble establishing and maintaining the appropriate nutrition requirements for your child, talk to a healthcare professional or a nutrition specialist. 

Similar Posts:

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.