Current Pediatric Research

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Research Article - Current Pediatric Research (2022) Volume 26, Issue 10

Nutrition in preschoolers with emphasis on prebiotics: a review

Child under-nutrition increases the risk of childhood mortality and poor cognitive development and over-nutrition is associated with increased risk of various non-communicable diseases. Despite substantial economic growth in India over most recent decades, chronic malnutrition (stunting) in children less than five years of age (preschoolers) remains alarmingly high, with 35.5% of children stunted in the country. The triple burden of malnutrition continues to be a significant public health challenge in most countries. While food supplementation with essential nutrients can help mitigate the micronutrient deficiencies in preschoolers, inefficient nutrient absorption in the gut can in turn contribute to micronutrient deficiencies. Prebiotic is defined as a substrate that is selectively utilized by host microorganisms conferring a health benefit. With availability of advanced knowledge regarding the gut microbiota, it is now proven that prebiotics help in nutrient absorption. Additionally, prebiotics also help in developing a strong immune system. The strategy of food supplementation with micronutrients and prebiotics is thus beneficial in reducing micronutrient deficiencies in preschoolers. It is seen that in India, milk remains major part of diet in preschoolers; while milk alone is not nutrient-rich, studies have now shown that supplementing milk with other specific nutrients like calcium and zinc can support growth. Studies have now shown that combining prebiotics along with essential micronutrients like iron, zinc and calcium may support growth and development in preschoolers.

Author(s): Sailajanandan Parida, Suresh Kumar S, Preethi Rahul*, Amit Khandeparkar

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