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Nestl¨| organizes ?°Start Healthy Stay Healthy?° forum to explore latest developments in maternal and child nutrition research
Time:20 May 2015
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Source: China Daily

Chinese Nutrition Society's "12th National Nutritional Science Conference" was recently held in Beijing. As a leading global expert in maternal and child nutrition, Nestl¨| organized a "Start Healthy Stay Healthy" forum during the conference, inviting leading experts to deliver keynote speeches revolving around the latest developments in maternal and child nutrition research.

In this forum, experts have pointed out the common nutrition issues during the "First 1,000 Days" among Chinese families nowadays, and have provided an analysis on the crux of the issues, as well as the corresponding solutions. Lawrence Li, Nestl¨| GCR Chief Medical Science & Compliance Officer said, "Start Healthy Stay Healthy" focuses on nutrition education for the "First 1,000 Days", and will disseminate scientific nutrition knowledge to personnel directly or indirectly involved in early life support work of babies and infants through diversified means including the Internet, forums, and community education.

"First 1,000 Days" determine a child's future quality of life

"First 1,000 Days" is an internationally recognized window period of life health, and is referring to the period from pregnancy to 2 years after the baby's birth. Not only will the nutritional status at this phase affect the child's current physical and mental development, it is also significantly related to the incidence of chronic diseases in the future, and is the critical window intervening with adult diseases.

Experts attending the forum included Professor Yang Huixia, Chairman of the Chinese Society of Perinatal Medicine and Director of Obstetrics, Peking University First Hospital, Professor Zhang Yumei of the School of Public Health, Peking University, and Anne Dattilo, Nutritional Science Associate Director of Nestl¨| Nutrition, USA. During the forum, they explored and exchanged their views with the participants around topics such as "Latest Developments in Nutrition and Research on the First 1,000 Days", "Maternal Infant Nutrition Survey in 8 Chinese Cities" (Nestl¨| "MING" Research, Maternal Infant Nutritional Growth), Dietary Patterns of Pregnant and Lactating Mothers, and 0-36-Month-Old Babies and Infants", as well as "The Impact of Feeding Behaviours in the First 1,000 Days on the Development of Subsequent Dietary Patterns".

Overweight, uneven nutritional intake, always thinking the child is underweight?-. "Chinese-style" nutritional issues are highlighted

During this forum, experts put forward the most common nutritional issues during the "First 1,000 days" among Chinese families nowadays. These include the decline in exercise levels of pregnant woman, the coexistence of excessive and inadequate weight gain among pregnancy, polarization of nutrient intake, and parents' frequent miscalculations about their children's weight conditions.

Professor Yang Huixia has systematically elaborated on how the nutritional status during the "First 1,000 Days" will affect health conditions in the short-term and even after entering adulthood, as well as the dietary behaviours and patterns during adulthood. In addition, she also pointed out that pregnant women in China should make improvement in weight management. As indicated in Nestl¨|'s MING study data, 43.2% of the pregnant women in 8 Chinese cities experience excessive weight gain during pregnancy. Compared to normal weight gain during pregnancy, excessive weight gain will lead to a rise in the macrosomia incidence rate from 9.8% to 13.8%, and the caesarean section incidence rate will increase significantly from 48% to 58.4%.

MING study data also indicates that 21.7% pregnant women are underweight prior to pregnancy. Regardless whether it is excessive weight gain during pregnancy or underweight prior to pregnancy, both will lead to a significant increase in the child's obesity risks in the future.

Professor Zhang Yumei pointed out that there is still room for improvement in the dietary patterns of the related First 1,000 Days group in the 8 cities in China. Issues such as excessive fat intake, unsatisfactory vegetable and fruit intake, and inadequate dairy intake found in women during pregnancy and lactation not only affect babies' health ultimately, but will also lead to after-birth or longer-term obesity and other metabolic diseases in the mother as well. Premature or delayed complementary feeding is commonly found among 0-36-month-old babies and infants, while only about 63% of 3-year-old children are taking fruit every day, and sodium intake among 1-3-year-old young children far exceeds at a multiple of the level recommended by the Nutrition Society due to the added salt in homemade food. So the parents and caregivers should know that it is unnecessary to add salt to babies meals.

MING study also discovers that nutrient supplements are commonly used among babies and infants. It shows that most of the parents focus on the supplement of nutrient, but it also exists that the inappropriate use by some has led to a high level of vitamin A and Zinc intake, far exceeding the recommended level. The above findings indicate that developing the relevant nutrition education among the First 1,000 Days related group and improving the population's quality of health is a very pressing matter indeed.

By analysing Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study in the US (FITS), MING study and other research data, Dr. Anne M. Dattilo focuses on exploring the impact of dietary nutrition during the First 1,000 Days on children's eating habits. In particular, she emphasized the importance of nutritional balance of pregnant and lactating women in building babies' eating habits, and she presented her achievements: such as the pregnant woman's taste preference could be delivered to the fetus by amniotic fluid, baby's meals pattern at the age of 2 could determine its future dietary pattern for the whole life. She also mentioned that parents should adopt responsive feeding with babies and infants, and pay attention to babies' hunger and satiety signals at different stages in order to achieve reasonable and scientific feeding. Dr. Dattilo also pointed out in the report a common issue existing among both Chinese and American parents: a significant portion of the parents have underestimated the weight of their children. As indicated in the data of MING study, 7.9% of the parents think that their children are overweight, but the actual incidence rate reaches 15.4%. On the other hand, 14.5% of the Chinese parents think that their children are underweight, but the actual incidence rate is only 4.2%. This reflects that Chinese parents generally prefer the babies on the heavy side, and it will increase the incidence of overfeeding.

"Start Healthy Stay Healthy" ¨C For a Healthier Next Generation

Due to misconceptions and lack of scientific knowledge, people have taken the wrong path in nutrition intake and lifestyle, and the error regarding nutrition in the First 1,000 Days will affect children's health after adulthood and even the quality of their lifetime. For this reason, delivering healthy dietary knowledge for the First 1,000 Days to parents, and helping children develop good eating habits are particularly important.

Nestl¨| pays special attention to and strongly advocates the importance of nutrition and healthcare based on the "First 1,000 Days" principles, and actively promotes the "Start Healthy Stay Healthy" nutritional education program globally. This programme, focusing on the First 1,000 days of a child's life, and based on scientific facts, is an important nutritional milestone in the growth and development of a human being. Nestl¨| hopes that, by means of these activities, the healthy development of babies and infants will be promoted, and healthy eating habits will be established for the rest of that person's life.

China was one of the first markets where Nestl¨|??s "Start Healthy Stay Healthy" education programme was first carried out. The programme was not only based on Nestl¨|'s international research achievements in maternal and child nutrition, but was targeted to provide solutions and nutrition advice for maternal and infant nutrition questions and problems.

MING study is a large-scale study jointly launched by Nestl¨| and Peking University, targeting the nutritional conditions of pregnant and lactating women, infants and young children of 0-3 years old in China, as well as the constituents of breast milk among mothers in China. Its findings have become an important basis on which the education content of "Start Healthy Stay Healthy" can be more tailored to China's national circumstances.

Nestl¨| aims to help expectant parents and novice parents avoid incorrect area of nutrition, and make the scientific knowledge of nutrition fully and deeply understood, and through improving the health in the first 1,000 days of life, so as to help Chinese parents foster more healthy future generations.

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