On Mother’s Day, quite a few mommy or parent bloggers arrived for a short session hosted by Horlicks and Indiblogger at Taj Vivanta to learn about children’s nutrition, its importance, and also spread the message as far as we can.
The fact is: the status of children’s health (which is directly linked to nutrition) in India is not good.
This is not something new, but some of the stats shared at the conference were extremely alarming. Currently, India has:
- More than 50% of children who are nutrient deficient.
- Largest number of Vitamin A deficiency in the world.
- Largest number of children prone to iodine deficiency.
If the above stats were not shocking enough, the presenters also spoke about the phenomenon of hidden hunger, where children who you might think were perfectly nourished and doing well also were not developing to their fullest potential because of eating the wrong type of foods. The technical term for this is malnutrition. This is not because of any economic constraints, but more due to a simple lack of knowledge or awareness about children’s nutritional needs.
These wrong beliefs can be something as simple as being advised by a relative not to take iron supplements during pregnancy because that makes a child dark. Thank god, I didn’t listen to such old wives tales as adequate iron is one of the most important things for the development of a foetus.
Why does India have such high malnutrition rates for children?
Here are a few reasons why:
- Vegetarian diet
- Cereal-pulse based
- Affordability because meat and dairy are costly
- Lack of fortification of widely consumed foods
- Refined and processed foods
- Faulty cooking practices – such as repeated boiling of milk. This is something even I am guilty of 🙁
- Adulteration of foods
How to fix these nutrition issues?
There was a lot of discussion on this issue. Taking into account poverty, cooking styles, and a primarily vegetarian diet, the following two options emerged as a way to track and improve a child’s nourishment.
One easy option is to use fortified foods – such as fortified atta, or cereals, to up the micro-nutrient intake. Another option is to be mindful of the amount of empty calories being consumed.
Of course, the primary focus topic was Horlicks, and how it can boost nutrient intake. After listening to the presentation, I thought that even if it is coming from the company itself, the suggestion made sense. Here is a product that has so many essential micro-nutrients, and when mixed with milk also has a hefty dose of calcium, available easily in the market for a very reasonable price, why not use it?. It’s probably one of the easiest, and most cost-efficient things to do to make sure your child is not deficient in any nutrients. Isn’t it?
Another suggestion was to use technology to check if your child’s daily nutrition intake levels are as per the prescribed guidelines . Right now, there are a lot of apps available on the market to test an adult’s nutrition intake, exercise, and so on. However, there aren’t that many targeted for a child.
And thanks to Horlicks, we have one called Nutrimeter.
Nerdy, geeky me got really enthusiastic about the app and I quickly entered my daughter’s nutritional details and got an all-clear for her. Unfortunately, I could not test the app with the Piglet as it is only for kids 6 and older.
Too bad as I really wanted to find out these details for my son – the notoriously picky eater.
That said, I found the app really easy to use, and quick, and I’d highly recommend it if you have any doubts about the kinds of foods your child is eating.
After all this discussion, we were getting really hungry, so we had a quick and delicious dinner followed by a massive cup of Horlicks (for Snubnose), and an extremely dishy coffee ice cream for me 🙂 before heading out into the pouring rain to get home.
All in all, a very educational and entertaining evening.