Experts call for improved infant diets
HA NOI — Parental misconceptions about the quality of food recipes may be a contributing factor to children's slow growth and their digestion problems, said experts at a conference addressing food safety for children held in Ha Noi yesterday.
Dr. Le Bach Mai, deputy director of the National Institute of Nutrition said parents need to pay more attention to what they offer their children. A healthy, balanced diet with adequate key nutrients is necessary, rather than letting them have whatever they want or forcing adult tastes on the kids.
According to the 2010 National Nutrition Supervision, over 29 per cent of children under 5 years old in Viet Nam are below average in weight and height, with poor nutrition as a major reason.
Mai said parental knowledge about food safety was very important to child development, pointing out that good nutrition contributed 30 per cent to height development.
She added that preparation of a child's meal must take into account their age, with kids' demand for food being different from adults.
Dr. Luu Thi My Thuc, head of the Nutrition Section under the National Hospital of Paediatrics held the same opinion.
She said sometimes parents wondered why their children grew slowly although they had invested a lot of money in their meals and tried to give the kids whatever they wanted.
The reasons, as Thuc pointed out, might be the imbalanced diet that did not really suit the child's needs.
She also stressed that busy parents or grandparents may have failed to ensure good hygiene while cooking meals, forgetting to wash their hands or failing to wash the food properly, which later caused children to have conditions like diarrhoea.
Nguyen Manh Hung, deputy chairman of the Viet Nam Standards and Consumers Association warned that children had higher risks of food poisoning than adults because of their much lower resistance.
Experts said the height gain of Vietnamese at present was much slower than that of other Asian countries, including China, Singapore and Malaysia.
The National Strategy on Nutrition for the 2011-20 period set the target of reducing the percentage of children of below average height and weight to 26 per cent by 2015 and 23 per cent by 2020. — VNS