Nutrition in Growth and Development: Nestle

Speaker: Prof. K. N. Agarwal - Former Head, Dept. of Pediatrics, IMS, BHU, Varanasi, Former Director, SGPGI, Lucknow, Hony. Scientist, INSA, President , Adolcare Presented at: Nestlé Nutrition Institute Workshop, New Delhi


Prof. Agarwal talks about the importance of nutrition in early years and adolescence. Any nutritional deficiency in the various growth stages can result in malformation, mal-development and dis-development. He elaborates on nutritional requirements of babies while also stating the importance of breast milk in the growth process. He prescribes vegetarian lifestyle and foodstuffs which provide better nutrients. He explains puberty stage growth among adolescents. Prof. Agarwal highlights the difference between the growth patterns between girls and boys and even siblings. He elaborates the various vitamins, proteins, fats, cholesterol required among boys and girls through growth stages and effects of malnourishment.

Brain is the most important part of the body; it grows very rapidly from 6th week of gestation period. Maternal nutrition has an effect on embryo and placenta. Since 1995 there has been no change in under 3 children nutrition and wasting has gone up by 3%. Breastfeeding should go on till 2 years and it is the perfect nutrition source. There are various phases in which a baby matures while taking in human milk during the first two years of life. Child receives everything through breastfeeding except Vitamin K, D and B12. Vitamin D can be obtained by sunlight since sun is the major source. Vitamin B12 can be less in the infants whose mothers are vegetarian. If there is faltering in complementary feeding then nature takes its course and uses fat. A human infant doubles in weight by 5 to 6 months. For low birth babies it is recommended that cattle milk is not used and a vegetarian life is adopted. Home prepared food is recommended and infection in home should be taken care of. Egg white, broccoli, ice-cream, chocolate are not advised for under one infant. Vitamins are important, though they do not provide any energy yet they are important. Vitamins act as catalyst in metabolization of minerals. While a human body can create few vitamins, it cannot create a single mineral. Lymphocytes proliferation is done by vitamin B6 and stops if Selenium is low.

Adolescence and the succession of puberty in boys and girls are discussed. Comparisons are made between Caucasian and African American kids with regards to puberty. Both boys and girls are compared with facts and figures taken from various studies to show differences between height, breast formation in girls and formation of scrotum and growth of penis in boys. A boy needs a huge amount of testosterone during growth in puberty. Shoulder growth in boys and hip growth in girls is discussed. Fat content is set at 25% in girls and 18 % for girls hence boys need more energy. Bone density increases 30% during adolescence though it starts at birth. Undernourished child reach puberty late. They maintain their vital body functions by metabolising amino acids.