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Nutritional Disorders in Childhood

Poor food and frequent infection lead to malnutrition and hold back the physical and mental development of millions of children. Below is a table of the main vitamins required in a balanced diet, their source, function and typical symptoms of deficiency. For more information on this topic go to the specific page for each vitamin/essentail fatty acids and contact [ 2 ] below.

Vitamin Function Deficiency Symptoms Source
A Constituent of visual pigment. maintenance of epithelia. Poor vision. Night blindness. Dry skin. Defective epithelia lead to infections of skin, respiratory, urinary, and digestive tracts. Dairy produce. Fish liver oils. Yellow and Green vegetables.
C Maintains intercellular substances, i.e. between cells, connective tissue matrix. Scurvy, fragile capillaries, small haemorrhages under skin and gums, slow healing of wounds. Citrus fruits.
D Calcification of bone, calcium absorption. Rickets, mainly in children. Soft deformed bones, Bone demineralisation in adults. Eggs, Fish liver oils.
E Antitoxin that protects cell membranes. Possibly anaemia. Widely found. Vegetable oils, Green vegetables.
K Blood clotting. Prolonged blood clotting time. Green leafy vegetables, widely distributed in small amounts and also synthesised by intestinal bacteria.
Essential fatty acids Components of cell membranes, precursors of prostaglandins . Skin sores, renal damage, mental changes. Widely found. Required in small amounts.
Source: [ 1 ]

The information in this page is presented in summarised form and has been taken from the following source(s):
1. Introduction to Human Physiology , 2nd Edition (1981), M. Griffins, Macmillan Publishing Co. Inc, New York
2. United Nations Children's Fund, Facts for Life: http://www.unicef.org/ffl/


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  http://www.hon.ch/Dossier/MotherChild/child_nutrition/child_nutrition.html Last modified: Jun 25 2002