Regional child nutrition concerns discussed at major pediatric summit
- Saudi Arabia: Monday, November 21 - 2011 at 13:03
- PRESS RELEASE
Paediatric nutrition was the focus of the second annual Africa and Middle East (AfME) Experts Forum held recently in Limassol, Cyprus. The two-day event was organised by Pfizer Nutrition and was the second such symposium in the region, following on from last year's successful inaugural program that took place in Cairo.
Discussions at the Forum ranged from nutrition-related physiological issues, such as failure to thrive, malnutrition and obesity, to behavioral, concerns, such as 'picky eating.' According to the experts attending, many of the issues examined were endemic and had the potential of manifesting as metabolic dysfunctions later in life. Also under consideration were the latest research into the influence of dietary protein on childhood growth and development, and the implications of the World Health Organization's most recent infant growth standards, which have been adopted by more than 140 countries,
"Parts of this region, in particular Saudi Arabia, have undergone an incredible amount of change over the past forty years and are increasingly being exposed to western influences, including diet," said Dr. Harbi Shawosh, Chairman of the conference and Consultant Pediatrician, King Fahd Armed Forces Hospital, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. "The readily available low nutrition foods are becoming more and more popular a staple diet for families. Children are being fed these forms of meal on a regular basis and they are often their first preference, as they tend to have a high salt and saturated-fat content which is appealing to young taste buds," he added.
"All of this adds up to a potential health time-bomb for the future if we don't start addressing these issues now. The second AfME Forum on child nutrition has provided an ideal platform for regional experts to examine the latest guidelines relating to diet for children in the region. Saudi Arabia faces a distinct set of challenges where obesity and overweight are the more pressing concerns - nutritional food is readily available but children are refusing to eat it," continued Dr. Shawosh.
A roster of regional and international speakers took to the floor to address the symposium, which formed part of Pfizer Nutrition's Medical Education program for healthcare professionals. One of the delegates representing the Gulf region was Dr. Mohamad Miqdady, Division Head of Paediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, UAE and Adjunct Staff at Cleveland Clinic, Ohio, USA.
"Child nutrition is fundamentally important to a healthy life in later years," said Dr. Miqdady. "All of the studies have shown that adult health is inextricably linked to eating patterns in infancy. If we want to see a future healthy population in Gulf countries such as Saudi Arabia, we have to ensure that we meet the dietary requirements of our youngest section of society right now. This means making sure that our children eat the right forms of food."
The 2011 AfME Forum on child nutrition was an integral part of Pfizer Nutrition's aim to support health and well-being for individuals at every stage of their lives. The organization utilizes consumer and scientific insight, along with almost one-hundred years of experience, to formulate strategic solutions that offer parents confidence and help provide optimal nourishment for their children.
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