Given the nutritional relevance and challenges of ages 12 to 36 months, Nestlé Nutrition Institute in Central and West Africa facilitated experts discussion on recent advances in paediatric nutrition in Benin, Nigeria on 8th August 2019.
This age group’s critical nutrition challenges need some attention because infants are growing rapidly and have high nutrient needs in proportion to their body size. In addition, there are some physiological limitations like the limited gastric capacity. Therefore, this sub‐group is prone to dietary imbalances and inadequacies. This call for attention by relevant stakeholders to get nutrition right during this period of time to support appropriate growth and development both in the short, medium and long term.
Two key presentations were made:
- Probiotics – Implications in Paediatric Health by Dr. Idemudia Ebenovbe. She highlighted the nutritional importance of probiotics, highlighting the role of healthy intestinal microbiota for the immune system and that developing the gut immune system depends largely on healthy intestinal microbiota. She added that certain strains of Probiotics like Bifidobacteria, also present in breastmilk are more beneficial than others.
- A Review of a research by experts titled “Composition of Follow-Up Formula for Young Children Aged 12–36 Months: Recommendations of an International Expert Group Coordinated by the Nutrition Association of Thailand and the Early Nutrition Academy” by, Prof. Philip Abiodun and Dr Atimati of University of Benin Teaching Hospital.
One of the international expert group members, Prof. (Med.) Philip Abiodun, a Nigeria and his team reviewed the recommendations. It was concluded by the experts that “Problematic nutrients with often inadequate intakes are the vitamins A, D, B12, C and folate, calcium, iron, iodine and zinc. If used, FUF-YC should be fed along with an age-appropriate mixed diet, usually contributing 1–2 cups (200–400 ml) of FUF-YC daily (approximately 15% of total energy intake). Protein from cow’s milk-based formula should provide 1.6–2.7 g/100 kcal. Fat content should be 4.4–6.0 g/100 kcal. Carbohydrate should contribute 9–14 g/100 kcal with >50% from lactose. If other sugars are added, they should not exceed 10% of total carbohydrates. Calcium should provide 200 mg/100 kcal. Other micronutrient contents/100 kcal should reach 15% of the World Health Organization/Food and Agriculture Organization recommended nutrient intake values. A guidance upper level that was 3–5 times of the minimum level was established.
Countries may adapt compositional requirements, considering recommended nutrient intakes, habitual diets, nutritional status and existence of micronutrient programs to ensure adequacy while preventing excessive intakes.
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