Undernutrition in children is common globally and may result in both short and long term irreversible negative health outcomes. In Vietnam, despite some progress, undernutrition in children remains a persistent social and economic concern. Undernutrition includes a wide array of effects in children growth including underweight (low weight-for-age), wasting (low weight-for-height); stunting (low height-for-age), and micronutrient deficiencies. The rate of stunting, a form of undernutrition is quite high at 23% – or, one in four children. Globally, Vietnam ranked among the group of countries with shortest average heights. This comes as a result of many factors including nutrition deficiency from early childhood.
Undernutrition has long-term effects on individuals and societies including poor cognitive development, less income, recurring illness and poor self-esteem. The consequence is largely irreversible if not corrected at early years of life, and once stunted at early childhood, a child remains shorter than their peers and is unlikely to ever catch up fully.
The best possible future of a child starts with the best possible care and a proper nutrition support. As 60 percent of child growth in height happens in the first five years, immediate intervention in this critical window should be taken to prevent stunting, poor immunity and poor cognitive development in the future. Unlike common perception, the contribution of genetics on height growth from infancy to early childhood is relatively small, instead, nutrition together with environmental factors like hygiene and exercises is key.
MD. Robert Murray, Professor of Human Nutrition, College of Education and Human Ecology, The Ohio State University, said: “Undernutrition has many negative impacts, in particularly slowing down the linear growth of children who are either living in community or staying at hospitals. Without proper nutrition, growth faltering or even stunted growth can occur, leading to illness and cognitive development issue which have serious consequences later in life for children. Addressing undernutrition early as well as malnutrition at risk to reactivate the growth plate helps them reach their full growth potential. Genetics determine the bone elongation but environmental factors, especially nutrition, help children reach their full height potential no matter how the geographical or cultural differences are”.
Abbott first introduced PediaSure in 1988, since then, the company continuously innovates the formula to keep up with the increasing nutrition needs of children around the world. Backed by strong science of more than 20 clinical studies a scientifically designed formula with complete, balanced nutrition and 37 nutrients PediaSure has been proven to promote visible growth in height, weight and improve immunity for children at nutritional risk. Particularly, clinical studies have shown that children consuming PediaSure gained weight, height and improved appetite in 9 weeks of intervention; had better nutrient adequacy and reduced number of sick days as much as 60 percent in 12 weeks. The enhanced formulation of PediaSure – with arginine and natural vitamin K2, to further support longer and stronger bone growth and may help better address stunting and promote catch-up growth in early childhood.
PHD. Yen Ling Low – Director, Research & Development – Abbott’s Nutrition R&D Center, Asia Pacific, said: “Arginine is an important amino acid which may play a role in height growth. It promotes the multiplication of cells at the growth plate in bones to help bones grow longer. Research has shown stunted children had significantly lower blood levels of arginine than normal children and lower arginine intake is associated with slower height growth. Natural vitamin K2 is an important nutrient that helps to deliver and bind calcium to bones and ultimately, helps build stronger bones. Natural vitamin K2, a unique form of vitamin K, is more effective than vitamin K1 commonly used in other formulas. Therefore, new PediaSure is added with arginine and natural vitamin K2 and is scientifically designed to help bones grow longer and stronger to further support catch-up growth”.
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