Vietnamese parents often consider picky eating as a normal symptom in every children, not knowing that long-term picky eating can seriously affect the physical and mental development of their children.
Snapshot to picky eating issue
In Vietnam, according to Professor, Ph.D. Nguyen Cong Khanh, president of Vietnam Pediatric Association, feeding difficulties affects about 35 per cent of children in Vietnam.
Many Vietnamese mothers only recognize that her child is suffering from picky eating when the child starts losing weight and feeling sick. For the next step, changing menu is a common way they applied to manage picky eating from mild to severe. Or, mothers think that just need to be take a bit longer time to feed her and with more foods.
Dr. Yen Ling Low, Director, Clinical Research, Abbott Nutrition Research and Development, Asia Pacific Center, and Dr. Duy Huong answer questions at a seminar.
However, nutritional experts believe it is necessary to early identify comprehensive nutritional interventions that can help tackle picky eating effectively. At a symposium recently held by Abbott Vietnam and the Vietnam Pediatric Association, international and local healthcare experts are calling for more practical solutions to help children get back to healthy eating.
Clinical studies have also shown that picky eaters may consume 50 per cent less of required nutrients and energy, which cause big nutrition gap, says
Dr. Yen Ling Low, Director, Clinical Research, Abbott Nutrition Research and Development, Asia Pacific Center.
Therefore, picky and fussy eaters may face with short-term consequences such as slow weight or height gain, lack of interest, reduced activity, poor immunity and increased risk of death. In the long term, picky eaters can also suffer from increased risk of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, small size, cognitive development, and poor school performance.
“Feeding difficulty should be taken seriously, and nutrition gaps also need to be identified and fulfilled early. Overall, it needs the support from healthcare providers, parents and community,” Dr. Low added. Nutritional demands are particularly high during childhood to meet growth and development needs.
Abbott’s initiatives in pediatric nutrition care
As a global healthcare company committed to helping people live healthier lives, Abbott has partnered with leading scientists to conduct a long-term study on the role of nutritional supplementation to tackle nutrition gaps in children.
A 48-week research conducted by Abbott in collaboration with Asian Hospital and Medical Centre in Manila, Philippines showed that early nutrition intervention can help improve health outcomes of at-risk children. Using a Pediatric Nutritional Supplement (PNS) and dietary counseling can improve the health outcomes of children.
In as little as four weeks, PNS, which includes twice-daily supplement with an oral nutritional supplement, can promote ideal growth in at-risk children.
Children in this study also show improvements in height and weight, with no excessive weight gain. They also enjoy other health benefits such as reduction in number of days of illness, increased physical activity, and enhanced appetite, during the intervention period.
The effectiveness and safety of PNS has been shown multiple clinical studies. Hence, PNS, like PediaSure, should be considered as a useful tool to tackle nutritional gaps in children with suboptimal growth in addition to dietary counseling.
With the latest research, healthcare experts hope that increased science understanding on picky eating will be widespread in Vietnam, thus ensuring the ideal growth of Vietnam’s next generation.