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Infant Cereals sold in Lower-Income Countries lack consistency in their Nutritional content: Global Analysis

The findings suggest that there is a need for basic quality assurance services to improve nutritional consistency and healthy growth of infants from 6 to 24 months age

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Cereal for a baby , wikimedia

New York, Jan 1, 2017 – Premixed complementary foods sold in lower-income countries lack consistency in their nutritional content, a global analysis of infant cereals has revealed.

The findings suggest that there is a need for basic quality assurance services to improve nutritional consistency and healthy growth of infants from 6 to 24 months age.

Premixed infant cereals or complementary foods can be a vital source of the solid food needed for healthy child growth after the age of six months, when infants outgrow the nutrients provided by breast milk alone.

This conclusion was reached after researchers from Tufts University in the US analysed 108 commercially available premixed complementary foods from 22 low-and-middle-income countries.

The findings, published in the journal Maternal and Child Nutrition, said premixed complementary foods can be extremely effective at protecting infants against malnutrition and stunted growth.

“In countries where we sampled, some products can readily meet children’s needs, but others fall far below requirements for both macro and micro-nutrients,” said William Masters from Tufts University.

“Our results are a call to action for establishing and enforcing nutritional quality standards, which would help ensure access to lower-cost, higher-quality products and enable parents to meet their infants’ needs more easily,” he added.

Researchers said that childhood malnutrition was the main cause of stunted growth, that may lead to delayed mental development and poor school performance — a serious and irreversible condition that affects individuals with greater risk for illness and death throughout their lives.

According to Unicef, nearly half of all deaths in children under age five are related to undernutrition, which is particularly widespread in Africa and Asia.

“A healthy child consuming breast milk alongside the average sampled complementary food would experience zinc and iron deficiency from six to nine months, and dietary fat deficiency at 12 months,” the study said.

The study noted that nutritional content claims on packaging labels did not meet their reported caloric content.

“Slightly more than half of the products misreported protein, and two thirds misreported fat content. For zinc and iron, products exceeded labelled values about as often as they fell short,” the study further added. (IANS)

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Research Reveals That Breastfeeding Can Protect Your Child From Asthma Exacerbation

Research has revealed that children who are breastfed have a 45% lower risk of asthma exacerbation later in life

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Breastfeeding can protect your child from Asthma.
Breastfeeding can protect your child from Asthma. Pixabay
  • Breastfeeding creates a protective shield for your child against various diseases
  • A child suffering from Asthma who was breastfed is less prone to Asthma aggravation
  • Breastfeeding strengthens child’s immunity system by providing all necessary nutrients, minerals, antibodies to the child

Washington D.C., September 4, 2017: When a baby is born, the initial few months are very crucial for the baby’s immunity system. Research says that breast milk develops the immunity system of a child and this immune system protects the child from various health problem throughout his life.

A research was conducted on 960 children aged between 4 to 12 years who were consuming regular asthma medicines.

According to the analysis made on the children suffering from asthma, those children who had been breastfed had a 45% lower risk of asthma exacerbations later in life as compared with children who had not been breastfed.

Dr. Anke Maitland-van der Zee, the senior author of the study, said that although breastfeeding can be seen as a protective factor for asthma exacerbation, the causal relation is still unclear.

According to another research conducted by Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands, children who were fed other milk or solids in addition to breast milk in first 4 months had an increased risk of wheezing, dry cough, and persistent phlegm as compared to children who were exclusively breastfed in their first 4 months.

In the early stage of life, changes in the composition and activity of the gut microbiome influence the immune system and these changes might indirectly lead to changes in asthma later in life.

Scientifically, the causal relationship between breast feeding and asthma is not still unknown. But research says that breast feeding plays a vital role in developing a child’s immune and respiratory system. So, in this way, breast feeding does reduce the child’s vulnerability towards Asthma.

-prepared by Shivani Chowdhary of NewsGram. Twitter handle: @cshivani31

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Tired of Taking Antibiotics? Sugars in Breast Milk May Protect You Against Bacterial Infections, Says New Study

According to the data by Center for Disease Control and Prevention, bacterial resistance to antibiotics causes about 23,000 deaths annually

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Breast milk is believed to be the healthiest nutrition
Feeding your baby breast mil for the first 6 months is recommended for the nutritional benefits it provides. Pixabay
  • Bacterial resistance to antibiotics causes more about 23,000 deaths annually.
  • Breast milk helps newborns fight bacterial infections
  • Researchers discover natural sugars that can reduce human dependence on antibiotics

Washington DC, August 22, 2017 : Newborns and infants are highly susceptible to bacterial infections and diseases. In the face of medical challenges, young mothers tend to look for remedies that cater to the problem with the least possible side-effects. In a latest study by a Washington DC University, it has been revealed that the mother’s milk consists of a unique blend of fats, proteins, and sugars that help protect babies against bacterial infection.

As per the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, mother’s milk is supposed to be the only nutrition for a newborn for the first six months.

Breastfeeding is one of the key phases to nurture a newborn. Combined with antibodies and nutrients, the practice is not only beneficial to the baby but for the mothers as well.

Breast milk addresses a multitude of problems and diseases in children,

  • Lowers risk of allergies and asthma
  • Reduces respiratory illnesses and chances of diarrhea.

Apart from these, researches have not revealed that it also helps babies fight against bacterial infections.

ALSO READ: What Mothers are Complaining about this World Breastfeeding Week 2017

An interdisciplinary team of doctors and chemists at the Vanderbilt University have discovered that carbohydrates in a mother’s milk possess a complex blend of antibacterial properties. Additionally, the research also revealed that apart from their own qualities, the presence of these carbohydrates also enhances the efficacy of antibacterial proteins present in the milk.

Calling it an example of a comprehensive antimicrobial action by the carbohydrates present in the mother’s milk,  according to Steven Townsend, the director of the study, “One of the remarkable properties of these compounds is that they are clearly non-toxic, unlike most antibiotics”, as per a report by ANI.

According to the data by Center for Disease Control and Prevention, bacterial resistance to antibiotics causes about 23,000 deaths annually.

Additionally researchers asserted that pregnant women are the most common hosts to group B strep bacteria, which cause severe infections in newborns. These infections often lead to pneumonia or sepsis, and in extreme cases death due to the absence of properly developed defense mechanisms in newborns.

However, group B strep bacteria rarely infect babies.

This motivated the researches to undertake a research to address the growing number of deaths and to probe whether the mother’s milk contains specific protective compounds that fight these bacteria in babies.

Previously, it was believed by biochemists that proteins are the most important followed by carbohydrates. “Far less is known about the function of sugars, and as a trained glycoprotein chemist, I wanted to explore their role,” asserted Townsend.

The Research

For the research, the carbohydrate in human milk, also known as oligosaccharides, was collected from different donor samples. The samples were then summarized with a mass spectrometry technique that is used to identify large biomolecules. The obtained compound was then added to strep cultures which were then observed using a microscope.

The study showed that the sugars found in breast milk in such cases can act as anti-biofilms agents. To put it simply, the researchers observed that the sugars not only sensitized the target bacteria but also killed them. Some of the oligosaccharides directly fought the infecting bacteria. Additionally the carbohydrate compounds also broke down the biofilms that the bacteria form to protect themselves.

ALSO READ: World Antibiotic Awareness Week 2016 Focuses on Using Antibiotics with Care

It ha been revealed that these powerful sugars can potentially become part of an antibacterial treatment for adults and infants alike, thus reducing our dependence on artificially produced antibiotics.

This study has been published and is now a part of the ACS Infectious Diseases journal.


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Breastfeeding of new-born babies during the first hour after birth is less than 50 percent in India

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By NewsGram Staff-Writer

New Delhi: Only 44.6% Indian mothers are able to breastfeed their babies within the first hour after birth, the lowest among South Asian countries.

babymThe findings have been revealed in a report prepared by the Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India (BPNI) and the Public Health Resource Network (PHRN) as part of WHO’s World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative (WBTi), according to Times of India report.

The TOI quotes Arun Gupta, the BPNI central coordinator as saying: “It is not understandable why only 44% of women are able to begin breastfeeding within an hour when more than 75% of women deliver in institutions as claimed by PM Modi.”

The WBTi revealed that out of 150 points, India scored only 78 in breastfeeding assessment. This is only a marginal improvement over 2012 score of 74. The report further suggests that out of out of 26 million children who are born in India, as much as 14.5 million children may have been deprived of optimal feeding during their first year.

Though, only 44.6% children are fed within first hour of their birth, around 64.9% children get breastfed till 6 months. Around 50.5% babies get complementary food within 6-8 months.

Lack of monitoring, absence of data, inefficient policies are among the reasons that has resulted in India performing poorly. The recommendations given in the report to improve this situation includes: effective monitoring, national policy on Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF), maternity protection and revival of baby-friendly hospitals.