Case study context:
Susie is an energetic, 3 year old. Her parents are concerned that she will not eat all her food that they prepare for her and that she just eats small snacks throughout the day. Her dad thinks they should insist she sits and finishes all her meal before allowing her to continue normal activities. Her mum is not comfortable with this strategy.
Maintaining child and family health assessment is critical in achieving and sustaining normal growth and development. Additionally, in recent years there has been increased awareness of the importance of growth and nutrition inextricably linked with cognitive development. We already know that research reinforces the concept that ...view middle of the document...
However, in Australia the US National Centre for Health Statistics (NCHS) growth charts developed in 2000 is recommended for this purpose. The charts which are included in the personal health records, (blue book) show healthy term infants and children in general grow about 7.6 cm per year between 12 months and 10 years, weight increases 2 kg per year between age 2 and puberty, and the brain is 80% of adult size by age 3 (Doyle, 2009). Actual measurement however is dependent of other factors such as birth weight or prematurity, heredity, nutrition, infectious disease and emotional wellbeing (Dietary Guidelines for Children and Adolescents in Australia, 2003). So another impacting difference for child assessment is that the NCHS chart merely describes how children grow under ‘general circumstances’ whereas the WHO charts how children should grow consistent with ‘best’ health practices (WHO). In reflection of either chart used however, a child age 3 is physically growing normally if the lines connecting the plotted values continue along or are parallel to one of the percentile lines on the charts. If the plotted values show inconsistencies; this could justify a deeper review of factors that affect growth. For a three year old other measures of growth include all teeth being present, however tooth eruption may be delayed by familial patterns or other health conditions; and function of the eyes (NSW Health, 2007).
Unlike growth, there are no simple measures of development. Each child is unique, and this is reflected in individual rates of normal development as it is a gradual process of growth and expansion of skills and moving from a low level of complexity to a more advanced level (Doyle, 2009). It is achieved through the processes of growth, maturation and learning in which many theorists of child development have further divided into specific domains, such as gross motor, fine motor, language, cognition, and social/emotional growth. Berk (2008) points out that theorists such as Piaget (1970) whose cognitive theory affirms that children will actively explore their environment to develop and construct knowledge, and others like Bronfenbrenner’s (1979) ecological systems theory and Vygotsky’s (1978) socio-historical theory, have all contributed to the understanding of different aspects of child development making it necessary to draw from more than one theory in order to underscore its complex nature. Regarding assessment, studies evaluated by Macy (2007) have established that at age 3, specific milestones are usually reached, which include from many; riding a bike, dressing themself with the exception of laces and buttons, counts to 10 and uses plurals, recognises at least 3 colours, questions constantly, and feeds themself well (Macy, 2007).
Nutritional needs of a 3 year old female toddler:
As discussed by child health experts and theorists, a child aged 3 marks a time of rapid social, intellectual and emotional growth. The Dietary...