Accra, Ghana - On 10th February 2015, the Nestlé Nutrition Institute of Africa (NNIA) held a Paediatric Nutrition Symposium for healthcare professionals in Accra to address the importance and relevance of protein in child health and nutrition.
NNIA is a multidisciplinary, educational organisation dedicated to the science of nutrition in Africa. It provides healthcare professionals with information on the latest science and developments in early childhood nutrition through publications, workshops, scientific conferences and digital medi
a.The organisation is supported by a multidisciplinary scientific board drawn from various countries in Africa. The Director of Policy and Monitoring Directorate of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Zakaria said: “We need to continually educate health workers on science-based nutrition because science is dynamic”. She further expressed interest of the Ministry to partner NNIA in addressing concerns on non-communicable diseases.
Professor James Renner, Executive Board Member of the NNIA, presented on the theme “Shaping the future: Proteins in Paediatrics”.
The importance of protein in infant nutrition
The first 1000 days of a child’s life, which covers pre-pregnancy and the first two years of a child’s life, is a crucial period for healthy growth and development in terms of immunity and brain development. The right feeding practices in early childhood support the establishment of healthy eating habits. Early nutrition also impacts a child’s risk of becoming overweight or obese and developing related health problems later in life.
Breast milk is undisputedly the best nutritional start a baby can have. This is why Nestlé supports and promotes the World Health Organization’s recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months of a child’s life, followed by the introduction of nutritious complementary foods along with sustained breastfeeding until two years and beyond.
At the symposium, healthcare professionals were presented with new science that shows that breast milk protein is the most important nutrient for infants. Its low quantity and unique composition influence all aspects of growth and development and have a long term impact on health. Studies have shown that inadequate levels, and inappropriate quality, of protein in infancy can lead to long term health issues, including obesity, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.
The first 1000 days provide the greatest opportunity for securing a healthy and productive future through the right nutrition and feeding practices. Ensuring adequate protein intake is one of the beneficial nutrition interventions impacting long term health.
Nestlé is committed to help children to develop their full potential and live healthier lives by providing science-based product solutions and education services, addressing specific nutritional needs of consumers – such as pregnant women, infants and toddlers. Continued nutrition education for healthcare professionals is part of the company’s global commitment to promote good nutrition practices.