News article

PRESS RELEASE - "Child and Adolescent Health"

Posted:  Tuesday, August 27, 2013

27th International Congress of Pediatrics. Melbourne, Australia, August 24 – 29

ICP 2013 was devoted to discussing current and cutting edge topics in pediatrics. As the only global representative of the pediatric community, the International Pediatric Association (IPA) has over 100 years’ experience and 166 Member Societies who are leaders in the pediatric world, working with major global health organizations, including WHO, UNICEF and FIGO.

During the congress, the Nestlé Nutrition Institute held an influential satellite symposium on ‘Child and Adolescent Health’ in which several eminent speakers discussed early nutrition related to growth and health outcomes. The speakers focused on the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding, adolescent pregnancy and malnutrition and obesity. The symposium highlighted the important role of policy and nutrition both prenatally and in the early stages of adolescence, as well as exclusive breastfeeding to address both over and under nutrition.

Early Nutrition, Growth and Health Outcome
Prof. Ferdinand Haschke (Department of. Pediatrics, Medical University, Vienna, Austria and Nestlé Nutrition Institute, Vevey, Switzerland.)

Professor Haschke highlighted the benefits of breastfeeding for babies and appropriate nutrition intervention to address both under and over nutrition as well as allergy prevention.

Analysis of a large dataset of surveys from 20 developing countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America indicates that exclusive breastfeeding until 6 months of age is associated with significantly higher weight and length, and lower probability of stunting and infections. The probability of infections tends to be lower if breastfeeding is continued between 6 and 12 months of age.

Between 12 and 24 months, 7 out of 10 infants still receive breast milk, but there is no evidence of an association of feeding patterns with growth and health outcome. , As indicated in the recent Lancet series (2013), poor quality weaning diets during a baby’s second year of life could be the major factor associated with stunting and wasting. Only 1 out of 10 infants is exposed to infant formula during the first 2 years.

Prevalence of allergic diseases and obesity is increasing in most countries. Clinical studies and randomized trials show the benefits of breastfeeding or specific formulas on prevention of allergic diseases and obesity.

Adolescent Nutrition & Risk Factors: a growing agenda
Prof. Zulfiqar Bhutta (Center for Global Child Health, Sick Kids, Toronto, Canada & Center of Excellence in Women & Child Health, The Aga Khan University)

The focus of Professor Bhutta’s presentation was on the 16 million babies born to adolescent girls aged 15 -19 years, almost all in low-middle-income countries, accounting for over 10% of total births each year. He highlighted the relationship of adolescent health and nutrition outcomes based on the new Lancet series on maternal and child nutrition (2013).

Adolescent and repeated young age pregnancies are important factors related to maternal, fetal and neonatal outcomes. Young girls are physically immature, and may enter pregnancy with depleted nutrition reserves and anemia, increasing the risk of low birth weight infants. Almost half of all adolescent girls in some countries are stunted with increased risk of adverse outcomes. Adolescent pregnancy is also associated with a 50% increased risk of stillbirths and neonatal deaths, as well as preterm birth, low birth weight and asphyxia. Furthermore, adolescents are prone to complications in labor and delivery and an increased risk of miscarriages.

The presentation discussed the potential use of vitamins, especially folic acid, during the preconception period to improve the potential mother’s health as well as child outcomes; and the role of community and social services to address adolescent pregnancy prevention.

Dual Burden of Malnutrition: What role for Paediatricians
Prof. Ricardo Uauy (Professor of Nutrition and Public Health Institute of Nutrition INTA University of Chile and Professor of Pediatrics/Neonatology Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, Santiago, Chile)

Professor Uauy’s presentation discussed malnutrition in the wider context of lifestyle and noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), and especially in the broader context of the consequences of both deficit and excess energy. He stressed the importance of the prenatal period and the need for consistent policies to address the double burden of disease.

Childhood obesity has increased significantly over the past decades in virtually all countries and the rise in obesity in less developed countries has been faster over the past decade than ever before. Critical periods that can lead to overweight children include the prenatal period, pregnancy, infancy and adolescence. In the prenatal period, pre-pregnancy weight, gestational weight gain, birth weight, smoking during pregnancy and maternal diabetes appear to be the most important risk factors, while after birth post-natal infant feeding practices, rapid weight gain, first born child and sleeping patterns are the most important.