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Abbott launches innovative childhood nutrition solution

Released at: 14:24, 23/07/2019

Abbott launches innovative childhood nutrition solution

Photo: Abbott

PediaSure Abbott's latest innovation to support catch-up growth and unlock growth potential in children at nutritional risk.

by Nghi Do

Abbott announced the launch of its innovative childhood nutrition solution, the new PediaSure with arginine and natural vitamin K2, on July 22 in Ho Chi Minh City.

Vietnam is the first country in Asia where the solution has been launched, marking another milestone in Abbott’s commitment to help promote catch-up growth and unlock growth potential in children at nutritional risk.

Undernutrition in children is common globally and may result in both short and long-term irreversible negative health outcomes. In Vietnam, despite some progress, undernutrition in children remains a persistent social and economic concern. Undernutrition includes a wide array of effects in children’s growth, including underweight (low weight-for-age), wasting (low weight-for-height), stunting (low height-for-age), and micronutrient deficiencies.

The rate of stunting is quite high, at 23 per cent. Globally, Vietnam is ranked among the group of countries with the shortest average heights. This comes as a result of many factors, including nutrition deficiency from early childhood.

Undernutrition has long-term effects on individuals and societies, including poor cognitive development, less income-earning capacity, recurring illness, and poor self-esteem. The consequences are largely irreversible if not corrected in the early years of life, and once stunted in early childhood a child remains shorter than their peers and is unlikely to ever catch up fully.

The best possible future for a child starts with the best possible care and proper nutrition support. As 60 per cent of child growth in height happens in the first five years, immediate intervention in this critical window should be taken to prevent stunting, poor immunity, and poor cognitive development in the future. In contrast to common perceptions, the contribution of genetics to height growth from infancy to early childhood is relatively small. Instead, nutrition together with environmental factors like hygiene and exercise is key.

According to Mr. Robert Murray, Professor of Human Nutrition at the College of Education and Human Ecology, Ohio State University, undernutrition has many negative impacts, in particular slowing down the linear growth of children who are either living in the community or staying in hospitals. Without proper nutrition, growth faltering or even stunted growth can occur, leading to illness and cognitive development issues that have serious consequences later in life. Addressing undernutrition early as well as malnutrition to reactivate the growth plate helps them reach their full growth potential. Genetics determine bone elongation but environmental factors, especially nutrition, help children reach their full height potential no matter the geographical or cultural differences.

“The first five years are considered the golden window for parents to prepare a strong foundation for their children’s future,” said Mr. Murray. “Sixty per cent of height growth potential is achieved in the first five years. Nutrition should be taken advantage of in the early stage of life to maximize potential in the future.”

Arginine is an important amino acid that may play a role in height growth. It promotes the multiplication of cells at the growth plate in bones to help bones grow longer. Research has shown stunted children have significantly lower blood levels of arginine than normal children and lower arginine intake is associated with slower height growth, according to Ms. Yen Ling Low, Director, Research & Development, at Abbott’s Nutrition R&D Center, Asia Pacific.

The natural vitamin K2 is an important nutrient that helps deliver and bind calcium to bones and ultimately helps build stronger bones. A unique form of vitamin K, K2 is more effective than vitamin K1, which is commonly used in other formulas. Therefore, the new formula has arginine and natural vitamin K2 added and is scientifically designed to help bones grow longer and stronger to further support catch-up growth, she added.

“Through the addition of important growth-supportive nutrients, the new formula with arginine and vitamin K2 is the latest innovation from Abbott,” said Mr. Douglas Kuo, General Manager of Abbott in Vietnam. “The launch of the new PediaSure in Vietnam, one of our priority markets globally, is a demonstration of Abbott’s commitment to the country and our goal of working together to build a strong foundation for children to reach their optimal growth to unlock their full potential.”

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