Experts discuss children’s digestive issues at Abbott conference

17:21 | 16/07/2019
At Abbott’s conference on nutrition solutions, local and international doctors and the company’s experts shared the latest research results and measures to help mothers handle tummy discomfort, reduce allergic risk, and improve the general health of children.

Abbott organised the event following a 2014 study from market and opinion research company Ipsos conducted in Vietnam showed that 74 per cent of moms were still concerned about their child’s digestive health and half of moms were looking for solutions.

experts discuss childrens digestive issues at abbott conference
The conference was organised by Abbott

What are the most common digestive problems of Vietnamese children and what is your suggested treatment?

PhD MD Nguyen Gia Khanh, president of the Vietnam Pediatric Association: First, the common digestive issues are vomiting, fussiness, as well as constipation or diarrhea and there is 25-54 per cent of children experiencing these issues. They are not dangerous, but both children and parents will be extremely tired, especially when babies suffer from colic.

According to research, 41 per cent of parents constantly switch formulas if they don’t see visible growth in their children. This could be dangerous to their children’s development. Meanwhile, all global studies have come to the conclusion that the effective treatment is proper nutrition solution instead of switching formulas.

Besides digestion, allergy is also commonly seen in the community. Can you share what factors contribute to the risk of allergy?

experts discuss childrens digestive issues at abbott conference
Dr Nguyen Thi Viet Ha

Dr Viet Ha, head of Gastroenterology Department, National Hospital of Pediatrics: There are several factors that contribute to the risk of allergy in children such as family history, caesarean delivery, and frequent use of antibiotics.

Formula-fed babies could be allergic to the cow milk protein in the formula. Those fed with additional meals could be allergic to the protein in the food they consume, such as protein in meat, fish, egg, and so on.

Imbalance of immune response may result in allergic reactions. Thus, parents should always pay attention to developing children’s immune system from the early stages of life to reduce allergic risks and infection.

Similac Total Comfort is known as the easy-to-digest formula with TummiCare system. Can you share how the product helps children’s digestion?

experts discuss childrens digestive issues at abbott conference
PhD Yen Ling Low

PhD Yen Ling Low, director of Research & Development, Abbott’s nutrition R&D center, Asia-Pacific: The TummiCare system was designed to make it easy to digest. In this formula, we basically use partially hydrolyzed whey protein. We break down protein into smaller cubes, so that it’s easier to digest for children’s gut.

Besides, we use palm olein-free fat blend to improve the absorption and get softer stools. The last thing is very low lactose content (2 per cent) in order to avoid lactose intolerance in some children. All three of these things help make the TummiCare very gentle and easy to digest.

If the child does not feel good, it causes stress for the whole family. We need a solution that gives really quick results because we cannot tell a mother to wait for a week or two for improvement.

Similac Total Comfort (STC) is clinically proven to be a highly effective easy-to-digest formula that provides fast relief (in only 24 hours) to 63.8 per cent of babies with digestive issues.

Abbott Vietnam recently introduced Similac Total Comfort with the fortification of HMO (human milk oligosaccharides) in the Vietnamese market. What benefits do infant formulas with HMO bring to children in Vietnam?

PhD Yen Ling Low: We consider a strong immune system the foundation for each child’s physical development and prioritise finding solutions which reduce the risk of allergy as well as infection.

In order to build strong immunity for children from the very beginning, breastfeeding is always our suggestion. One important reason is its abundant proportion of HMO – the golden nutrient that strengthens baby’s immature gut where 70 per cent of immunity exists. In allergic high-risk children who cannot breastfeed or for whom breast milk is not available, formula fortified with HMO and partially hydrolysed whey milk can be used to help reduce the risk of allergy.

Similac Total Comfort with dual immune blend including HMO and Nucleotides is scientifically designed to help children not only in Vietnam but in other countries to associate with a lower risk of eczema, food allergy, and infection.

We are currently working with our scientists worldwide to continue exploring the potential of HMO in cognitive development and benefits that help reduce the risk of allergy in children.

Can you share more about the significance of fortifying formula with HMO?

experts discuss childrens digestive issues at abbott conference
MD Rinarani Sanghavi

MD Rinarani Sanghavi, Pediatric Gastroenterology: More than a decade of research has found that HMO in the mother’s milk help build up good bacteria in the babies’ gut. Moreover, they prevent adherence of pathogens and regulate the immune cells to release protective factors.

Comparing children who have been breastfed and those fed with formula fortified with HMO, scientists found HMO brings similar benefits in terms of immunity to both groups. I highly appreciate the fortification of formula with HMO and believe this is a breakthrough innovation which helps science move one step closer to golden natural standard.

By Minh Hai

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