Malnourished 10-year-old children: Find out the causes and treatment

by Johnny Jacks

Vietnam is one of the countries with the highest rate of malnourished children in the world. In which, the 10-year-old period is the most serious and concerned threat today. Why are children at this age particularly vulnerable to malnutrition? Join Monkey to learn about the cause and treatment when malnourished 10-year-old children.

What is child malnutrition?

What is child malnutrition?  (Photo: internet collection)

Child malnutrition is a condition in which the body is deficient in nutrition, including lack of energy, protein, lipids and essential micronutrients. According to the report The State of the World’s Children 2019 by Unicef, one in three children under the age of five in the world today is malnourished.

Malnutrition in 10-year-olds often causes growth retardation and limited physical activity. Severe malnutrition can affect the brain development and intelligence of children, reduce communication ability and make children more susceptible to diseases. Assessing whether a child is malnourished or not will be based on the following indicators:

  • Weight-for-age index

  • Height-for-age index

  • Weight-for-height index

Causes of malnutrition in 10-year-old children

Inadequate nutrition during pregnancy of the mother

The cause of malnutrition in infants is that during pregnancy, the mother does not ensure adequate and balanced supplementation of groups of substances such as carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, fats, and essential minerals. .

Your child’s eating habits are not healthy

The cause of malnutrition in 10-year-old children is due to their unhealthy eating habits. In children’s meals, the balance of 4 basic groups of substances is not guaranteed, including: Carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals necessary for the development of the body.

This long-term situation will make the child lose the nutritional balance. Eating too much or too little of a food directly affects the health of the child.

Psychological factors

Psychological factors will affect children’s eating habits. The fact that parents force their children to eat too much will make children psychologically afraid to create obsessions about food. Over time, it will lead to anorexia and cause malnutrition in children.

Intestinal diseases

When suffering from intestinal diseases, the patient will feel that they do not eat well or do not want to dress, which will eventually make children lose their appetite, causing malnutrition. This is one of the causes leading to malnutrition in 10-year-old children.

How to calculate malnutrition index based on anthropometric index

How to calculate the malnutrition index.  (Photo: internet collection)

In addition to the often obvious signs, there is a more accurate way to easily identify malnutrition in young children that parents can do at home.

However, this method is only for awareness and warning purposes. To have the most accurate information, parents need to take their children to the hospital for examination at reputable medical facilities with detailed advice from nutritionists.

Currently in Vietnam, the Ministry of Health and the National Institute of Nutrition apply the calculation of malnutrition in young children based on the Z-Score of 4 indexes of weight for age, height for age, and weight for height. and BMI for age. In which BMI for age will be calculated by the formula:

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BMI will equal Weight (kg) / (Height (m)* Height(m))

Common types of malnutrition in 10-year-old children

Types of malnutrition are common in 10-year-old children.  (Photo: internet collection)

Malnutrition stunting

According to WHO standards, the World Health Organization, the average height of a healthy newborn is about 50 cm. In the first 3 months of life increase 3cm and the following months will increase 2cm. A sign to identify children with stunting is stunted growth in height, children only reaching 90% of the standard.

Underweight malnutrition

Underweight malnutrition can be understood as when a child’s weight is 90% or less below the WHO standard weight for age. Common signs when children are underweight malnutrition are anorexia or eating very little, it is difficult to gain weight. Underweight malnutrition in children is divided into 3 levels as follows:

  • Level 1: The child’s weight is only 90% of the standard weight for his age.

  • Level 2: The child’s weight is only 75% of the standard weight for his age.

  • Level 3: The child weighs only 60% of the standard weight for his age.

Undernourished and skinny

A 10-year-old child is malnourished and emaciated when the child’s weight is only 60% of the WHO standard weight and is accompanied by symptoms such as anorexia, very pale face, frequent digestive disorders. . In addition, children also have wrinkled skin and look “older” than their peers.

Malnutrition with atrophy

This is a severe degree of malnutrition, due to the child not being provided with adequate energy. Children are very thin, have an old face, look like skin and bones, lose all subcutaneous fat and often have digestive problems. Children will lose their appetite, always moody. Children with malnutrition in atrophy have a better prognosis than in edematous form because the organs are less damaged.

Undernutrition edema

This is considered severe malnutrition. Outwardly, the child has a round and full face, but the limbs are thin, atrophied, and muscle tone is reduced. Children have manifestations such as edema, skin pigmentation disorder with dark red or black spots and complications such as prolonged anemia, rickets, vitamin A deficiency causing corneal dryness, night blindness.

Children will be fussy, thinning hair is easy to fall, nails are very brittle, vomiting, diarrhea can also be manifestations of the disease. Children with edematous malnutrition are difficult to treat and have a high mortality rate.

Mixed malnutrition

Mixed malnutrition is when a child has edematous malnutrition but has been treated, when the edema stops, the child will become atrophied but the liver is still enlarged due to fatty degeneration and has not been fully recovered. At this stage, children only reach 60% of the standard weight.

What to do when a child is malnourished?

What to do when a child is malnourished?  (Photo: internet collection)

Visit the doctor and follow the doctor’s instructions

When suspecting that a child is malnourished, the first thing parents should do is take the child to a health center for examination. At the hospital, the doctor will perform a number of tests and tests to assess what nutrients your baby is lacking. Then we will find out the cause and advise the most appropriate treatment.

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Adjust a full-quality diet

After the doctor gives nutritional advice to the child, parents need to adjust the diet and balance the baby’s daily menu to be able to supplement the nutrients the baby is lacking. In addition, parents also need to build children healthy and scientific eating habits. After a while, it is necessary to bring the child back to the doctor to monitor the body’s recovery process.

Stop giving your baby antibiotics

In addition, the child should stop taking antibiotics. The use of too many antibiotics causes anorexia and loss of appetite in children. Therefore, it is possible to stop using the drug to supplement nutrients for 10-year-old children who are malnourished.

Malnutrition prevention for 10-year-old children

Prevention of malnutrition for 10-year-old children.  (Photo: internet collection)

To be able to prevent malnutrition in children right from the stage of pregnancy, mothers need to actively supplement with adequate nutrients to keep the fetus healthy. After the baby reaches the age of weaning and especially at the age of 10, which is the pre-puberty period, the baby needs to be supplemented with appropriate nutrients so that the child can develop both physically and mentally. Here are some ways to prevent malnutrition for 10-year-olds.

Adjust your diet

Diet determines the condition of the disease, so it is extremely necessary to adjust the diet. Once they know what kind of nutrients their children are lacking, parents can easily build a menu to supplement that nutrient so that their children can improve their malnourishment.

Adjust exercise mode

The child’s movement mode is also considered and adjusted by parents to be scientific and reasonable. Daily exercise will help the metabolism in the body to be normal, which is very good for the health of the child. If the child does not like to exercise, parents can take the child to bike or swim.

Limit the use of antibiotics

Instead of using antibiotics to treat common diseases for children, parents can use natural herbal medicines. These drugs have both the ability to treat the disease and do not affect the anorexia, loss of appetite due to the excessive use of antibiotics.

What nutrients do malnourished children need?


Iron supplement.  (Photo: internet collection)

Iron is involved in the transport and storage of oxygen, thereby metabolizing nutrients to make enzymes and red blood cells. Iron deficiency is a common cause of anemia in children.

If children are not provided with enough iron through the daily menu, they will be prone to malnutrition, underweight, reduced intelligence, mental retardation, and gastrointestinal, respiratory, and skin infections. . Malnourished 10-year-old children need to supplement with iron-rich foods from plants and animals such as liver, beef, chicken, fish, eggs, wood ear, sesame, amaranth, green beans, pennywort

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Calcium supplement for children.  (Photo: internet collection)

Calcium plays a role in the structure of bones and teeth, participates in blood clotting and metabolizes some nutrients of children. Lack of calcium will lead to delayed teething, making chewing and swallowing not good, leading to poor absorption of food. Foods high in calcium include fish, eggs, dark green vegetables, milk and dairy products.


Iodine is an important micronutrient needed to protect and promote a child’s brain and health. Iodine helps the synthesis of thyroid hormones, brain development and physical enhancement for children. If the child is deficient in iodine from the womb, the child at birth is very susceptible to congenital hypothyroidism, older may have mental retardation and is likely to have goiter. Foods rich in iodine include: seafood, seaweed, sea salt…


Children 10 years old with malnutrition should supplement zinc in the daily menu. Zinc participates in the composition of more than 300 enzymes that help with chemical reactions, the metabolism of nutrients and the process of cell division in the body.

Zinc deficiency makes children physically retarded, malnourished, reduced resistance and susceptible to infections, digestive system disorders, metabolic disorders, and weakened immune systems. Foods rich in zinc are shrimp, crab, oysters, clams, beef, chicken, cereal grains, cheese…


Malnourished children often lack vitamins A, D, C and group B vitamins. (Photo: internet collection)

  • Vitamin A deficiency: Slows growth in children, prone to skin diseases and impaired immunity, affecting market prices. Vitamin A is found in foods such as carrots, papaya, broccoli, tomatoes, and pumpkin.

  • Vitamin D deficiency: Causes rickets and malnutrition in children. Vitamin D is abundant in milk and dairy products and foods such as eggs, salmon, avocado, cod liver oil, especially in fatty fish.

  • Lack of vitamin B group: Will make children tired, anorexic, eat very little. B vitamins like folic acid are found in avocados, liver, eggs, peanuts and dark green vegetables like broccoli, spinach, and asparagus.

  • Vitamin C deficiency: Vitamin C deficiency causes poor absorption of iron, calcium and folic acid by the body. Vitamin C is abundant in fruits such as oranges, guava, strawberries, grapes, kiwi, parents can supplement for their children daily.

See more: Diet for obese 10-year-old children: parents’ reference

The above article has the most detailed information about the causes and treatment when malnourished 10-year-old children. Parents need to pay attention to the diet for malnourished children and should know how to take care of their children in the most scientific and reasonable way.

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