Proteins and Micronutrients: The Emerging Superstar

By Dr. Vaishakhi Rustagi in Nutrition And Dietetics , Paediatric (Ped) Endocrinology , Endocrinology & Diabetes

Nov 08 , 2020 | 1 min read

It is true that our children grow in a relatively predictable environment from infancy to childhood, and if their growth is monitored regularly, it is easy to pick up their growth disorders early. We can monitor the growth by keeping a check on their weight and height on sex-specific growth charts.

Dr. Vaishakhi Rustagi, Consultant, Paediatric Endocrinologist, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, says growth is one of the key processes of development in children. Till puberty Indian children grow at par with the western children but during the pubertal growth spurt the real difference can be seen in the height. 

Growth is one of the key processes of development in children. It is dependent on a number of factors like nutrition, genes and hormones. Since children grow in a relatively predictable manner from infancy to adulthood, if their growth is monitored regularly, it is easy to pick up growth disorders early. Growth in children is monitored by plotting their weight and height on country and sex specific growth charts.

Till the pre-puberty age group Indian children grow at power with the western children. However the major difference in the final heights of Indian children as compared to the western children is the pubertal growth spurt.

Our children have an attenuated growth spurt. Many factors have been found to cause this, but the latest studies show that our dietary protein intake and micronutrient intake is poor. Indian diet has a lot of variety, however every part of India has a predominantly carbohydrate rich diet. With the introduction of processed food this gap between carbohydrates and proteins has still widened.

What is an Ideal Diet?

In order to get a good growth spurt good quality proteins and micronutrient intake needs to be taken in sufficient amounts. A Minimum of 2-3 grams per kilogram of good quality proteins need to be taken since they are the building blocks of our body. Micronutrients like calcium, iron, zinc, phosphorus and vitamins also help in boosting the growth during puberty. Many ready products are available commercially claiming high proteins; however care needs to be taken as they could be obesogenic. If the recommended daily allowance is not met, apart from natural items like eggs, milk products, and pulses we might need to introduce protein concentrates.

Hence, the right balance of nutrition with essential aminoacid containing proteins and micronutrients can help our children reach their maximum genetic potential.