Nourishing the Infant and Child: Aiming for Effect Beyond Growth
Early nutrition in utero and in childhood have direct and indirect effects on an infant’s brain growth, development and immunity, which in turn impact the child’s long-term cognitive performance and physical health. These effects are influenced by specific nutrients and the timing at which they are delivered during early life.
Introduction to cow’s milk protein allergy
2-7% of babies and toddlers and 0.1-0.5% of adults are allergic to the protein in cow's milk. The duration of the allergy to the cow’s milk protein varies, but most children will have outgrown this allergy by the age of two to three years. Although it is often stated that the number of children with cow’s milk protein allergy is increasing, there is no scientific evidence to support this.
Nature vs Nurture – Who Wins?
Genetics (nature) and environment (nurture) both influence the development of an individual. In the Asian population, which makes up 60% of the world’s population, non-communicable diseases are prevalent. Obesity, for example, has become a major global health problem; for instance, the proportion of adults with a body mass index of 25 or greater has exceeded 40% among men in Singapore, and among both men and women in Malaysia (1).
Milk provides high quality protein essential for growth
Protein plays a role in building and maintaining body tissues, such as muscle and bone. Proteins are made of smaller building blocks called amino acids. There are 20 different types of amino acids, 9 of which are essential. Milk protein is considered high quality protein because it contains all 9 essential amino acids (EAAs) in relatively high quantities.
Growth standards and nutrition guidelines for infants and young children
When given an optimal start, children from all over the world have the potential to grow in similar patterns. There are always individual differences among children, but across large populations, regionally and globally, the average growth is remarkably similar. Differences in growth of children up to the age of five are more influenced by healthy nutrition, a healthy environment and good health care, than by genetics or ethnicity. Guidelines for healthy eating provide a good reference for hea
Nutrient needs in the first year of life
The first year of a child’s life is a critical window during which not only the foundations for healthy growth and development are built, but also it determines long term adult health. Adequate infant feeding is a major determinant of health in this period which ensures growth, health and development to their full potential.
Nutrients for brain development
Brain development is a long term process, with different parts and functions of the brain developing at different time points in childhood. Especially during the first years of life, the brain is undergoing rapid development. During this phase, adequate dietary intake is of special importance for the developing brain, with nutrients like iron, iodine and omega-3 and omega 6 fatty acids playing a vital role.
Macronutrients for toddlers: recommendations and role in growth and development
The recognition that the behavioral and physiological changes as well as the increasing levels of physical activity of toddlers require sufficient energy and macronutrient intake, have led to the development of recommendations for macronutrient intakes. Achieving the recommended intakes is vital to meet the energy needs and ensure optimum growth and development of muscles, bones and brain tissue.
Estimates of malnutrition
Stunted linear growth has become the main indicator of childhood undernutrition, because of its prevalence in nearly all low or middle income countries, and its important consequences for health and development. According to 2011 global estimates of the United Nations (UN) more than 165 million children under 5 years (26%) were stunted (HAZ=height-for-age Z score > -2), 100 million children (16%) were underweight (WAZ=weight-for-age Z score > -2) and around 52 million (8%) were wasted (WHZ=weigh
SEANUTS study design and methodology
The South East Asian Nutrition Survey (referred to as SEANUTS) is the largest and most extensive multi-centric nutrition and health study ever done in Southeast Asia. It was conducted by leading universities in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. This study investigated anthropometry, dietary intake, nutritional status, physical activity levels and cognition of 16,744 children between the ages of six months and twelve years, using a randomized multistage cluster design.