“My child does not eat well” is quite a common complaint heard everywhere. Not taking sufficient food is a type of common eating disorder in children. It is called as ‘anorexia’ in medical terms. The problem looks simple, but finding a perfect solution is quite difficult. In extreme cases, the problem may become life threatening with physical and psychological complications. Let us find out the reasons and solutions if your child does not eat well.
Causes for anorexia in children
- Some children are genetically prone to get anorexia.
- Lack of teaching about eating etiquette
- Excessive indulgence in one particular type of food
- Childhood depression
- Fear towards food are a few causes for anorexia in children.
Symptoms of anorexia in children
- Marked weight loss
- Inability to gain weight in relation to the age,
- Intolerance towards cold objects
- Very low immunity
- Fatigue, Lethargy
- Sweating episodes,
- Stomach discomfort,
- Amenorrhoea (lack of initiation of periods in young girls)
- Hair loss
- Poor wound healing are a few main symptoms that you can observe in the child.
Mainly the weight loss, not gaining weight according to age, depression, and stomach disturbances are the key symptoms to note.
Techniques to improve eating habits
An Indian custom: In Indian customs, there is a technique to improve digestion power in children. (click to read).
Indian herbs: Regular usage of very minimal quantity of Indian spices such as pepper, cardamom, cinnamom, ginger stimulates the stomach, intestines and liver to secrete timely digestive enzymes.
Physical activity in children: Moderate physical activities in the form of outdoor games leads to demand for calories, which makes the child eat properly. But excessive physical activity is a known cause for anorexia. So take care.
Depression cure: If the reason for anorexia is depression or fear, then the parents need to observe the child’s behavior to find out the cause and give them a comfortable atmosphere at home and in schools. Expert help in this is highly necessary. The best medicine to cure depression in children is ‘Hobbies‘
Ghee: In Indian customs, ghee (clarified butter) is given to the child from a very early age. Ghee not only improves digestion, it also improves the intelligence level, voice tone and skin complexion of the child. Even children who are allergic to milk can easily tolerate ghee.
Healthy Eating Habits
- Let the child eat at proper prefixed timings.
- Avoid junk food, aerated drinks.
- Once the child has taken meals, then do not give anything to eat at least for the next two hours. Maintain a healthy gap of 2 hours between meals.
- Identify the healthy foods and tastes liked by the child and prepare similar kinds of foods.
- Include the above mentioned spices in the food. If the child does not like it as such, then they can be mixed into the favorite dishes without the knowledge of child.
- While the child is eating, turn off the TV or video game.
- It is a good habit to eat together with the family.
If the cause for anorexia is genetic, then proper treatment will be required.
Home remedies to improve appetite
1. A small pinch of pepper with ghee after food.
2. A pinch of cumin seeds and Asafoetida mixed with buttermilk and given for drinking. Sugar may be added for taste.
3. Ayurvedic medicines such as Aravindasava, Balamritam etc can be administered to the patient, based on your doctor’s advice.