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Experts tackle new regional challenges in adolescent & child nutrition

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Key nutritional issues highlighted at LANFS scientific conference in Beirut held with the support of Nestlé NIDO® FORTIFIED

Dubai, UAE - 25 October 2009: Regional and international experts gathered yesterday in Beirut for the conference on "Current Challenges in Adolescent and Child Nutrition", which focused on eating disorders, obesity, and common hidden deficiencies, in addition to innovative management and intervention approaches.

Organized by the Lebanese Association for Nutrition and Food Sciences (LANFS) in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture and Food Sciences at the American University of Beirut (AUB), the conference was held under the patronage of the Lebanese Ministry of Public Health, with the support of Nestlé NIDO® FORTIFIED as part of their "10 Signs of Good Nutrition" campaign which has been committed since its launch in 2008 to facilitating access to credible, updated knowledge in the field of nutrition for both professionals and the public.

Dr. Nahla Hwalla, President of LANFS and Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences at AUB said: "The conference brought together a group of well-known experts in the field of adolescent and child nutrition, who shared their latest studies on many recurring challenges."

"Ultimately, we hope that such collective efforts would contribute to more effective action on the part of nutrition professionals, and better awareness on the part of parents to ensure healthier growth and development for children around the region," she added. "I'd like here to acknowledge all the speakers who participated with their qualitative studies today, in addition to the organizations that extended support to our cause including the Lebanese Ministry of Health, and Nestlé."

Nutritional aspects of bone health in children, and challenges and recommendations for attaining optimal bone growth were two topics brought forward by Dr. Susan Lanham-New, Reader in Nutrition at the University of Surrey, UK and Nestlé NIDO® FORTIFIED sponsored speaker at the conference. Dr. Lanham-New emphasized in her presentations the crucial nutritional influence on achieving peak bone mass and ensuring strong bones, on which she has extensive, internationally recognized research expertise.

"There is good scientific evidence that shows the importance of nutrition and physical activity during childhood in developing healthy bones. Bone mass increases linearly through this period of growth, and it is therefore considered a critical time for bone health," said Dr. Lanham-New. "Studies have also shown an association between higher Calcium intake and increased bone mineral status, with the effect greatest in the early stages of life.  Calcium is best absorbed in the body from dairy sources, which makes milk an essential component in a child's daily diet. In addition to Calcium, vitamin D and protein are also essential for a child's bone health, and parents should ensure adequate daily intake through the diet."

Attending the conference was Karine Antoniades Turk, nutrition expert at Nestlé Middle East. She mentioned that the conference tackled many issues that are of particular importance to the '10 Signs of Good Nutrition' initiative introduced in cooperation with LANFS in 2008.

"With known nutritional deficiencies, malnutrition and increasing spread of unhealthy dietary habits, we try through this initiative to provide sound nutritional information to help parents better understand the dietary requirements of their children. Tracking clear and visible signs of healthy growth and development makes it easier for them to detect any particular needs, and encourages them to continue observing the child's nutritional habits, ultimately promoting balanced daily diets and healthy lifestyles," said Turk.

The 10 signs of good nutrition that are identified by child nutrition experts and applicable to children starting age one include: 1. healthy growth, 2. alertness and liveliness, 3. physical activity, 4. good learning ability, 5. good appetite, 6. strong and clean teeth, 7. good posture, 8. strong bones and muscles, 9. uninterrupted sleep, and 10. regular bowel movement.

"To help ensure proper nutrition and healthy growth and development, we advise parents to provide their children with a balanced daily diet that includes milk and dairy products, in addition to encouraging them to build healthy lifestyles. Fortified milks such as Nestlé NIDO® FORTIFIED provide - in addition to calcium and protein - other essential micronutrients crucial for children growth and development," she concluded.

Nutritional resources and more information on the 10 Signs of Good Nutrition are available with the support of Nestlé NIDO® expert panel through