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Food Vision 2016 preview

Child nutrition NPD needed to avoid crippling cost of obesity, says expert

1 commentBy Kizzi Nkwocha , 25-Feb-2016
Last updated on 25-Feb-2016 at 15:32 GMT2016-02-25T15:32:40Z

'It is not very well known among consumers and among the different food and beverage industries that the first 1000 days is a window of opportunity for long term health,' said Einerhand. © iStock
'It is not very well known among consumers and among the different food and beverage industries that the first 1000 days is a window of opportunity for long term health,' said Einerhand. © iStock

New product development (NPD) is essential to address the nutritional needs of a child during its first 1000 days if health systems are to avoid the crippling cost of treating non-communicable diseases, warns a leading consultant and speaker at Food Vision next week.

Dr Sandra Einerhand, founder and consultant at Einerhand Science & Innovation, said: “It is not very well known among consumers and among the different food and beverage industries that the first 1000 days is a window of opportunity for long term health.

“This applies to almost all regions around the world, in developed as well as developing countries. We have to reverse the rise of non-communicable diseases (NCD) like stunting, obesity, diabetes and allergies. According to WHO, NCD are causing 60 % of all death across the world and this will rise by 17% within the next decade. The costs of treating these diseases will bankrupt our health care systems by the year 2030 and so we have to act now. “

Einerhand is one of the key speakers at this year's Food Vision Conference in Cannes. 

Her widely anticipated presentation entitled ‘Early years nutrition – the importance of the first 1000 days in setting up health for life  is a call to action urging industry to pioneer products and technologies which will help parents make healthy choices for their baby. 

Need for a balanced healthy diet

Einerhand told FoodNavigator that one of the main challenges faced by mothers during pregnancy and lactation is the need for a balanced healthy diet adapted to specific nutritional needs.

She said: “Over – as well as under -nutrition lead to increased risk in non-communicable diseases (NCD) like stunting, obesity, diabetes and allergies and thus it affects long term health outcomes.

“During my talk I will highlight some examples. For certain vitamins and minerals (e.g. iron, iodine, zinc, Vit A, B and folic acid) the requirements go up during pregnancy and lactation and so these should be supplemented to the women.

“Some women might know they should take extra folic acid and iron but most of the women might not know that iodine, zinc, vitamin A and B requirements go up too. In addition, Vitamin D status in many women of child baring age is low and so Vit D supplementation is recommended in many countries and experts have also recommended to supplement with DHA (fish oil) on a daily basis for a healthy brain development.”

Einerhand, who has worked in pediatric research for over 20 years, has spent the last five years studying nutrition during the first 1000 days.

She added that, for the infant, it is important that it is exclusively breast fed for the first six months.  After that period complementary foods should be given on top of the breast feeding.

No compromise on quality

She noted, however that exclusive breast feeding rates are generally low.

Einerhand suggested two possible solutions to this problem:

1. Encourage mothers to exclusively breast feed until six months and make them aware of the importance of the first 1000 days for long term health of their baby.

2. Infant formula should be given to the baby that mimics breast milk if, for any reason, it is still not possible for them to breast feed.

Einerhand said: “Infant formula companies should to do their best to make infant formulas that mimic breast milk as close as possible and come up with affordable options for low and middle income countries without compromising on quality.”

Interested in finding out more?  Meet Dr Sandra Einerhand at Food Vision, the leadership forum for the nutrition industry. Food Vision takes place from 2-4 March, Cannes France. Book your place now by clicking here

1 comment (Comments are now closed)

Government interference in child rearing.....

It's not the governments job to police what you feed your kid to make them fat, its the parents job. Unfortunately it seems there are more people having children that don't know how to be parents, instead they rely on other people to tell them what their child needs, take the dam I pads and video games away, make them go outside and play, run around and be a kid , not some zombie that's addicted to electronics and cheap fast food....if the parents are to lazy to raise their own kids, don't have any....

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Posted by COB
25 February 2016 | 15h382016-02-25T15:38:52Z

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