Updated  
May, 14 2014 09:10:00

Early nutrition vital for children

Mothers feed their children at a breast feeding festival in HCM City. Experts said that breast feeding was the best way to ensure an infant gets these nutrients. — VNA/VNS Photo Phuong Vy
HCM CITY (VNS) — The importance of nutrition in the intellectual development of children was highlighted at a seminar in HCM City on Sunday.

Major infant brain growth occurs during pregnancy and throughout the first two years of life, with the brain reaching about 80 per cent of adult size at two years, according to Dr Craig Jensen from the department of pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, the US.

During this period infants have the greatest need for docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (ARA), important nutrients that play a key role in the structure and function of neural tissues, most notably those of the retina and brain.

So it is important that infants obtain DHA and ARA from their diet in the golden stage from zero to two years to ensue an optimal brain and retinal development.

Breastfeeding is the best way to ensure an infant gets these nutrients, but if mothers are unable to feed their children, it is recommended that infants are fed supplemented formulas containing both DHA and ARA, he said.

Fatty fish, meat, and eggs are rich in the two substances.

Some studies have shown that infants who get optimal levels of DHA during gestation have better visual acuity, Jensen said.

Similarly, children who get adequate DHA and ARA in early life performed better in tests on sustained attention, psychomotor development, mental processing, and others compared to babies fed non-DHA-enriched formula.

An adequate intake of these nutrients might also help children improve immunological outcomes, he added.

According to the Viet Nam Paediatric Association, Viet Nam faces two challenges in relation to child nutrition: On the one hand, malnutrition remains a problem in most rural areas; on the other, the obesity rate among children is increasing, especially in major urban areas.

Parents should therefore improve their knowledge about children's nutrition to provide their child with the optimal diet to ensure both physical and mental development, it said.

Around 500 medical workers in the south took part in the seminar organised by the association and Mead Johnson Nutrition. — VNS


Send Us Your Comments:
Name:
Your E-mail address:
Title:
 

VietNamNews may edit your comments and not all emails will be published.

Highlight

PM meets acclaimed local mathematician PM meets acclaimed local mathematician

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung yesterday met Professor Ngo Bao Chau, the first Vietnamese to win the Fields Medal, the highest professional honour a mathematician can attain, and the Education Dialogue Group.

Scholars discuss East Sea dispute at int'l conference Scholars discuss East Sea dispute at int'l conference

The East Sea dispute will continue in the near future and urgent solutions should be found to manage the conflict and resolve it without force or the threat to use force and protect the rights of fishermen in traditional fishing grounds, an international conference that opened in HCM City yesterday agreed.

Police look into scam claims at pagoda Police look into scam claims at pagoda

Police are investigating rumors that a pagoda in Long Bien District is selling children for adoption.

A Vietnamese and a Chinese arrested for ivory smuggling A Vietnamese and a Chinese arrested for ivory smuggling

Customs officials have arrested a Chinese woman and a Vietnamese man at Suvarnabhumi Airport after they allegedly tried to smuggle out elephant tusks and ivory products worth about BAT9 million.

Places for a vacation: Son Doong Cave Places for a vacation: Son Doong Cave

Son Doong Cave in Viet Nam's Quang Binh Province has been suggested by the American news website huffingtonpost.com as one of the places to visit in 20 years.