Friday, July 13, 2012
A recent evaluation of research published in the Food and Nutrition Bulletin focused on the affects of unfortified milk, fortified milk and other animal-source foods on childhood nutrition has confirmed that the consumption of milk, especially fortified milk, and other animal-source foods improves growth indicators, micronutrient status, and cognitive performance in children, with fortified milk superior to unfortified milk in reducing the prevalence of anemia.
Milk contains vitamin B12, vitamin A, riboflavin, folate and calcium and meat is a rich source of heme iron, zinc, riboflavin, and vitamin B12 – all important nutrients for healthy growth and development. However, children in low-income countries often have very limited access to such foods (often just 5-10% of total energy intake), leading to widespread micronutrient deficiencies.
The report concludes that to improve the dietary quality of children in low-income countries and help eradicate extreme poverty and hunger in accordance with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, it is important to identify and implement programs and policy supporting increased intake of milk and other animal-source foods.
Other reports, including many available on the Nestlé Nutrition Institute website, such as the ‘Milk and Milk Products in Human Nutrition’ also confirm the importance of milk in a child’s diet to support healthy growth, particularly in developing countries.
Professor L. Allen also offers further insights into the issue in her talk titled ‘The Effects of Animal Source Foods with Emphasis on Milk in the Diet of Children in Low Income Countries’, which you can view on the NNI website.