Saturday, September 25, 2010

Research on Milk Parents Should Read

Study: Milk fortified with micronutrients is proven to help prevent childhood sickness

Milk fortified with specific micronutrients can greatly reduce the risk of childhood diseases especially in the first two years of life, report researchers in milestone study.

The clinical study has proven that milk fortified with a special combination of micronutrients can improve the health of children by reducing the incidence of childhood diseases including diarrhea, acute respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia, or nutritional deficiencies like iron deficiency and anemia, and can have a positive impact on the weight and height of growing toddlers.

These results hold considerable significance on child health throughout Asia, especially in the Philippines where nutritional deficiencies and infectious illnesses like pneumonia and diarrhea are still among the leading causes of mortality in children aged one to four years. (Source: Philippine Health Statistics 2000 and National Objectives for Health Philippines 2005-2010,

Researchers studied children residing in New Delhi, India who received supplementation of milk fortified with a specific bundle of micronutrients including Vitamins A, C, E, Iron, Zinc, Selenium and Copper over a period of one year. The children who consumed the fortified milk were better protected from common illnesses and were able to benefit from improved immunity to certain diseases compared to children who consumed milk with natural levels of micronutrients.

Lead researcher Dr. Sunil Sazawal, a distinguished expert on child health and an Associate Research Professor at the Department of International Health, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, stressed the importance of the correct combination of micronutrients to provide the maximum health benefits to growing children.

“It is always a question and an issue of the right combination of vitamins and nutrients for any form of nutritional supplementation to achieve full effectiveness. That is why it is crucial to utilize a carefully selected bundle of nutrients and use it in the right levels. Iron and zinc, for instance hold key roles in the immune system, while vitamin C was added to the formulation to aid the absorption of specific nutrients.”

He also shared how the vehicle in delivering essential micronutrients is equally important in making sure young children are able to successfully receive the nutritional benefits, and milk offers a great and natural method of delivery.

“It is important to use a certain vehicle that is acceptable to the population. Milk is a very good delivery method for fortification since it is a universally acceptable food source for children after one year of age. Milk is also easy to administer and is more child-friendly compared to non-food based delivery systems like tablets,” he said.

Yielding groundbreaking results that can help improve child health, the research was funded and supported by Fonterra, the world’s leader in dairy nutrition that is committed to bringing the best quality dairy products designed to improve the health of children around the globe.

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