Category Archives: Health and Wellness

4 Nutritional Deficiencies In Children

There’s a reason dino nuggets and mac and cheese are your child’s favorite— they’re delicious! Although these foods can be included in your child’s diet, it is important that they branch out and try more nutrient-dense foods. Nutritional deficiencies in children can have significant impacts on their growth, development, and overall health, making adequate nutrition essential during childhood.

Nutritional Deficiencies In Children

At Wake Forest Pediatrics, we understand that proper nutrition supports proper physical and cognitive growth, strengthens the immune system, and lays the foundation for lifelong well-being. Continue reading to learn more about nutritional deficiencies in children and how to help prevent them.

1. Iron Deficiency

Iron is a necessary mineral that supports the body’s growth and development. An iron deficiency is one of the common nutritional deficiencies seen in children. This deficiency in children often presents with symptoms such as 

  • Pale skin
  • Fatigue 
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Poor appetite
  • Delayed growth and development

To ensure your child is not iron deficient, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that starting at age 4 months, infants who are only breastfed or partly breastfed should be given a daily iron supplement until they begin eating iron-rich foods. Children 1 to 3 years of age should be eating a diet of iron-rich foods, such as legumes, nuts, fortified bread, and breakfast cereal. 

2. Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D is a necessary nutrient that helps your body absorb calcium. This is essential for developing strong bones and overall good health. Foods that are rich in vitamin D include salmon, orange juice fortified with vitamin D, egg yolks, and red meat. If a child is experiencing nutritional deficiencies in vitamin D, they may experience symptoms such as 

  • Fatigue or muscle weakness
  • Irritability or feelings of depression
  • Developmental delays 
  • A disease that causes thin, weak, and deformed bones, known as Rickets

Your child can also get vitamin D from being out in the sun. However, it is important to protect your child’s skin and always ensure they are wearing sunscreen when exposed to the sun’s UV rays. 

3. Calcium Deficiency

A calcium deficiency, also known as hypocalcemia, is when there is too little calcium in the blood. Calcium-rich foods to be sure to include in your child’s diet include dairy products, calcium-fortified foods, and dark leafy greens. If your child is not getting enough of these foods, nutritional deficiencies such as this one can lead to symptoms such as 

  • Irritability or lethargy
  • Muscle twitches
  • Dry skin, dry nails, or brittle hair
  • Seizures

Hypocalcemia can also be caused by premature birth, infections, maternal diabetes, and some medications. It is important that calcium deficiencies are detected early on, as children who don’t get enough calcium are at an increased risk for developing osteoporosis later on in life. 

4. Zinc Deficiency

Zinc is a trace mineral that helps boost your immune system and fight off invading bacteria and viruses. Although your body only needs small amounts, it is still essential for any healthy child. Children who are zinc deficient may experience symptoms such as 

  • Loss of appetite
  • Delayed growth
  • Impaired immune function
  • Irritability

Foods that provide adequate levels of zinc into your child’s diet include meat, shellfish, legumes, nuts and seeds, eggs, and whole grains. 

Introducing your child to new foods is no small feat. However, laying the foundation for your child to lead a healthy life is worth it. Wake Forest Pediatrics is committed to providing quality care to your kids at all times on a wide array of subjects. Do you have more questions on nutritional deficiencies in children? Call our Wake Forest office at 919-556-4779 or our Knightdale office at 919-266-5059 to make an appointment.

Sleep Habits For Children: Tips For A Better Night’s Rest

Sleep is the time when your body and mind reset and is essential for maintaining baseline mental health and overall well-being. Sleep is especially important for children as it affects nearly every aspect of their development. However, getting a good night’s sleep can be a challenge for some children. Establishing good sleep habits can go… Continue Reading

5 Nutrition Tips For Young Athletes

Growing children need healthy, well-balanced diets in order to provide energy and help them grow strong bones and muscles. Young athletes oftentimes have higher energy and fluid needs due to their increased activity time. Ensuring young athletes are eating the right foods and the right amount to match their body’s needs is essential for them… Continue Reading

6 Benefits Of A Long-Term Relationship With Your Child’s Pediatrician

Visiting your child’s pediatrician is beneficial to every aspect of your child’s health, growth, and development. One thing often overlooked is how important it is to build a long-term relationship with your child’s pediatrician and their entire care team. A pediatric provider, nursing staff, and friendly faces will make your child’s experience more pleasant as… Continue Reading

A Guide To Disordered Eating In Children

Healthy eating is a primal component of your child’s health, growth, and development. It also supports better energy levels, boosts mood, grows muscles, and even protects the heart. Regardless of the proven benefits of eating, there has been a notable rise in eating disorders, most presently seen in adolescent girls. Several different disordered eating habits… Continue Reading

What Is Sensory Processing Disorder In Children?

The American Academy of Family Physicians defines sensory processing disorder (SPD) as a condition that affects how a child’s brain processes information, also known as stimuli. This disorder interferes with a child’s ability to process and then act on information received by sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. The severity of sensory processing disorder greatly… Continue Reading

4 Reasons To Get Your Flu Shot In 2022

As the summer ends, the days get cooler, and your child returns to school, flu season starts to rear its ugly head. The flu in children often presents itself with a high fever, body aches, nonproductive cough, sore throat, and severe fatigue. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that children six months or… Continue Reading

Managing ADHD In Your Child

Parenting an ADHD child can be exhausting and frustrating. The demands of managing this disorder can test your patience and put a strain on your relationship with your child. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 6.1 million American children have been diagnosed with ADHD. Managing ADHD is difficult, but with all of… Continue Reading

Discussing Mental Health With Children

As a parent, having a happy and healthy child is indispensable. Yet, in an unabashed world filled with unforeseen circumstances leaving a lasting imprint on the world, it is important to make your child aware and equipped to handle real-life issues. Anxiety, stress, and negative emotions are at the forefront of an array of mental… Continue Reading

patient portal