As Woody (2007, pp.6-7) argues, occurrences in a child’s early stages of life are primary determinants of developments in a child’s later stages of life. That is, because of the developments and refinement of abilities associated with childhood, occurrences in a child’s early stages of life are primary determinants of later life bodily developments hence, the need for a good growth environment and a balanced nutritional intake.
During infancy and toddler-hood, most children are undergoing a period of rapid development and refinement of bodily systems, a factor that makes it necessary for parents to ensure young children receive the necessary dietary provisions to boost such developments.
Failure to provide kids with required dietary foods can greatly impair development, because of the role played by micronutrients not only in physical development, but also motor, language, brain and neurodevelopment. It is important to note that, before birth, children depend entirely on their mothers for nutritional nourishment, factor that changes immediately after birth (Wooldridge, Isaacs, & Brown, 2007, pp. 219-246).
Immediately after birth, infants depend on their mother’s breast milk for nourishment hence, an important period in a child’s development, because it helps in promoting the child-mother relationship. In addition to development of a healthy relationship, breast milk plays a crucial role of protecting children from diseases hence, reducing chances of postnatal deaths. Introduction of solid foods during weaning marks another period of children’s nutritional life, as caretakers struggle to ensure children receive the required nutrients for appropriate growth.
Nourishing a toddler with nutritive foods is necessary in ensuring children develop required cognitive abilities. As research studies show, failure to provide young children with nutritive foods at this stage may lead to brain maladjustments, which may greatly impair development of other abilities, for example, crawling, walking, and laughing. Good examples of nutrients necessary for brain development include vitamin c and iron (Brotherson, 2005, p.1).
During the toddler-hood and infancy stages, other body systems for example, the hearing and vision systems are also in a process of development, as a child’s interactions with the external environment increases. This makes is necessary for parents to feed their children with required nutrient provisions, necessary for ensuring that the auditory and vision systems develop to their full potential. On the other hand, nutrition also plays a central role when it comes to language development.
Because of the connection between brain development and the role played by nutrition in brain development, nutritional deficiencies can greatly impair language development more so in vocabulary acquisition, for such deficiencies will delay development of brain areas responsible for language processing and articulation (Woody, 2007, pp. 7-12).
In addition to development of the brain, hearing systems, and language acquisition, feeding children with nourishing foods is of great significance when it comes to physical growth and motor development.
During infancy and toddler-hood, children are in a process of developing their physical abilities hence, the rapid increases in weight and height. Biologically, because of the surface area to volume ratio concept, toddlers requires more nutrients supplements as compared to mature people hence, the need to provide toddlers with required foods to avoid development problems and illnesses.
In addition, to meet the toddler’s Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) needs, there is need for parents to feed children with foods with required nutrients and energy content, which in turn will promote health growth. For example, during infancy and toddler-hood, children are in a process of developing more and strong teeth and bones; processes that their bodies cannot accomplish without the presence of calcium, vitamin D, Zinc, and Iron.
On the other hand, it is important ton note that, human growth and development goes hand in hand with an individual’s health status hence, nutritional deficiencies can greatly impair the overall growth of toddlers’ body functionalities (Specker, 2004, p.1)
A proper nutrition is also of significance when it comes to prevention against health hazards, resulting from the body’s inability to fight diseases and infections. Because of change in the mode of acquiring nutrients immediately after birth, infants and toddlers depend on external foods to nourish their nutrient needs.
Hence, failure to provide such nutrients may greatly impair the working of the immune system, leading to many health risks, for example, anemia; which results iron deficiency in the body (Olney, Kariger, Stoltzfus et Al, 2009, pp. 763-772).
In conclusion, nutrition plays a very important role in determining a toddler’s future life, because lack of required nutrients in the body can greatly impair the development of an individual’s functional abilities not only in childhood, but also in later life stages.
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