Undernutrition and stunting: Why vietnamese children take the most supplements in APAC

By Guan Yu Lim contact

- Last updated on GMT

Anand Sundaresan (left), vice president of human nutrition and health at DSM Nutritional Products Asia Pacific ©DSM
Anand Sundaresan (left), vice president of human nutrition and health at DSM Nutritional Products Asia Pacific ©DSM

Related tags: Dsm, Vietnam, Supplements, stunting, Nutrition

Supplement intake among children in APAC is slightly higher than the global average, with Vietnam topping the list for the highest usage.

A new online survey conducted by DSM found that mothers across APAC ranked a healthy immune system, cognitive development and height growth as top priorities related to their kids’ overall health and well-being.

Among countries in APAC, Vietnamese children had the highest usage.

Anand Sundaresan, vice president of human nutrition and health at DSM Nutritional Products Asia Pacific told NutraIngredients-Asia​: “Nearly all Vietnamese children are taking some form of supplement with calcium the most common supplement taken across age groups, which links with height concerns​.”

The DSM Kids Usage and Attitude Study conducted in 2018 surveyed more than 7,400 mothers of children aged 4 to 12 years old across 12 markets globally: Germany, Russia, KSA & UAE, Brazil, Mexico, USA, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, India and Australia.

Undernutrition in APAC

The findings unveiled that supplement intake in APAC was higher because undernutrition and stunting were primary concerns in the region.

Undernutrition, which can affect healthy weight gain and lead to stunted height growth, was a key issue for mothers in APAC, where 30% of respondents were worried about the impact this had on long term health.

Sundaresan said: “Mothers were concerned about ensuring their kids received optimal nutrition to help prevent the onset of micronutrient deficiency at a young age​.”

If children are malnourished, it puts them at a higher risk​ of non-communicable diseases and disability, which can persist throughout childhood.

Picky eaters

The study revealed that children in APAC were also amongst the highest in having influence over their daily meal choices (79%), and with almost a third of children revealed to be picky eaters.

Sundaresan said: “There is an increasing need for mothers to play more of an active role in ensuring the right nutritional options are being provided to their kids to optimise healthy growth and development​.”

The role that supplementation then plays is key in supporting overall immune health and boosting the intake of vitamins into their child’s diet, leading to overall higher supplement usage​.”

The study also revealed that cognitive development was a main priority in the APAC region, but bone and teeth health was more of a priority for mothers in the USA and Middle East.

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