Nutrition Videos

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What Children Eat

Speakers: C. Jeyakumar Henry

Presented at 91st Nestlé Nutrition Institute Workshop: Nurturing a Healthy Generation...

Summary

An understanding of what children eat is at the centre of human nutrition. Despite the simplicity of the statement, the greatest challenge in human physiology remains how precisely we can describe what children eat. Dietary assessment at this age is confounded by a variety of challenges.

These include
1)Ability to document what children eat
2)ambiguity in estimating the amount of foods consumed
3)the conversion of the food consumed into nutrients using food composition tables. 

The first thousand days of an infant’s life has become a unique opportunity for dietary intervention, with long term consequences. In 1997, Professor Ramalingaswami coined the term “The Asian Enigma” to describe the lack of clarity on why the prevalence of childhood undernutrition and poor growth is much higher in this region than the rest of the world. Asian diets are characterised by high carbohydrate, high glycaemic index foods. They are also glaringly lacking in micronutrients, both vitamins and minerals.

The widely consumed staple here is rice that absorbs considerable quantities of water during cooking. This dramatically reduces the energy density of rice. The limited stomach capacity of the child, makes it nearly impossible to eat a wholly rice based diet to meet the child’s energy needs. This paper will describe how new innovation in technology and science may be used to improve the diets of children with greater palatability and nutrition.