IN today's fast-paced world, where our schedules are often jam-packed with various commitments, it's easy to neglect the nutritional needs of our children.
A study by the South East Asian Nutrition Surveys II (SEANUTS II) – a collaboration between dairy cooperative FrieslandCampina and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, highlighted the nutritional challenges faced by children in Malaysia, serving as a call to action.
In response to the study, Dutch Lady Milk Industries Berhad – a company that has been at the forefront of the country’s dairy industry since 1963, reformulated many of its dairy products to address the nutritional gaps for Malaysian children.
Thirst for value
The SEANUTS II research revealed that one in every seven children in Peninsular Malaysia aged five and below, suffer from stunted growth, due to a lack of nutrition.
Good nutrition is crucial to the growth and development of children, particularly during the formative period between 1 to 5 years of age.
And topping that list of healthy, natural nutrition is milk – often cited as the ‘complete food’ by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations.
This nutritional powerhouse plays a vital role in promoting the overall health and well-being of children, as it is an excellent source of essential nutrients.
One of its most important nutrients is DHA. This naturally occurring nutrient found in milk, is a key of Omega 3 fatty acid that is vital in the development of the brain, skin and eyes.
A deficiency in DHA, however, has proven to lead to a host of negative long-term consequences ranging from impaired reading capacity, low immune system and poor vision to behavioural issues such as tantrums and sleeping problems.
Taking nutrition to new heights
Dutch Lady first launched its formulated milk powder for children in Malaysia in 1988, and two decades later unveiled its new-and-improved 5X DHA formulated milk.
But DHA isn’t the only vital element in Dutch Lady’s formula milk that contributes to the growth and development of a healthy child.
Other vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, that helps build strong bones and teeth, as well as muscles to contract, and vitamin D – for bone strength and supports the immune system, are just as vital in a balanced, nutritious diet.
Alarmingly, the SEANUTS II study also showed that more than 70% of children in Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand, were not getting the average amount of calcium.
Additionally, more than 84% of children in the same four countries lacked Vitamin D – a vitamin that absorbs and retains calcium and supports the immune system.
As a company that champions good nutrition, Dutch Lady Growing Up Milk with 5X DHA, which covers the 123, 456 and the 6+ range are also formulated with calcium, Vitamin D, as well as protein and 20 other vitamins and minerals such as iron, magnesium, iodine, vitamin A, B and selenium.
These carefully-selected vitamins and minerals all have specific functions that facilitate the healthy development of children.
Breakfast of champs
Another important finding in the SEANUTS II survey was that one in three children in Malaysia skip breakfast.
A number of studies have shown that breakfast is the most important meal of the day for nutritional intake, that not only replenishes and fuels the body with energy, but also keeps hunger pangs away throughout the day.
And milk, as Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia's Faculty of Health Sciences, Centre for Community Health Studies (ReaCH) nutrition professor Dr Poh Bee Koon notes, is a breakfast staple.
In Malaysia however, skipping breakfast has resulted in one in four children to consume less than 100ml of dairy less than five times a week, adds Poh.
As Malaysia’s leading dairy company, Dutch Lady Milk Industries Berhad continues to encourage parents to pair this nutritious beverage with morning meals for their growing children.
Adding a glass of Dutch Lady 123 Plain Growing Up Milk with a whole egg for instance, can aid in increasing the amount of nutrients in meals, including 20mg of DHA, and up to 62% of vitamin A and 28 % of vitamin D recommended intake, to name a few.
As Malaysia’s leading dairy company, the awareness of proper nutrition isn’t merely about helping parents raise physically and mentally fit children or choosing the right source of dairy for their children, but is also about closing the nutrition gap in Malaysia.