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What can I do to improve the health of my child?

Q: My daughter is three and half years old. She is lean and thin inspite of taking adequate food and multivtamin (ABDEC) syrup. The stool report shows an increased presence of vegetative cells and roundworm at its initial stage. Her weight is 13 kg. What can be done to improve her health?

A:Let me first begin by telling you what is meant by a healthy child. A healthy child is the one who is not only free from any physical illness, but is also growing well and is active with a good appetite. As far as parameters like weight, height etc. are concerned, no doubt they are an important means for us to assess a child's well being. But a certain value of weight/height cannot be taken as a gold standard to measure a child's health. There is a range for normalcy for each of these parameters and every child has a growth pattern unique for him/herself. If your child has a healthy appetite and is active, then she is healthy. Certainly she needs to be dewormed. This is easily done by giving her Syrup Zentel 5 ml as a single dose. The dose can be repeated after a couple of weeks. It is desirable that the entire family, specially the food handlers be dewormed too at the same time to avoid transmission of infestation. Apart from that what is important is that healthy food habits be developed in the child. Let her learn to eat and enjoy the home cooked food- the usual dal, chapatti, rice, vegetables and fruits. No spoon feeding please. Let her decide the amount of food she wants to eat, you only decide what she eats. Avoid pre-meal snacks which kill the appetite for food. Avoid giving too many sweets, chocolates and foods like pizza, noodles etc. There is actually no need to give her any multi-vitamin syrup. Also, try to develop her interest in some outdoor activities from now on. These simple measures prevent a child fom becoming fat later, a problem that is increasingly becoming prevalent.

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