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Nestlé conducts first large scale study on young children's diets in China

a mother with her daughter

A lack of variety in their diet is creating nutritional imbalances in a large number of young children in urban China, a Nestlé-sponsored study suggests.

The findings of Nestlé’s Maternal and Infant Nutrition and Growth (MING) study will be presented at the 2015 Asian Congress of Nutrition, an event that aims to strengthen collaboration among Asian countries and international experts to advance knowledge on food and nutrition.

The MING study evaluated the diets of more than 1,400 infants and toddlers from eight cities to learn more about their food consumption patterns and sources of nutrition. It was the first large scale study of its kind in China.

It found Chinese toddlers were not eating enough citrus fruits and dark green vegetables. Main sources of calories in their diet were limited to five foods – milk, rice, noodles, pork and eggs.

This lack of variety implies Chinese toddlers are not eating a balanced diet. They are consuming too much of some nutrients, such as vitamin A and sodium, and too little of others, such as vitamin B6, folic acid, iron and selenium.

The study suggests fortifying foods consumed by Chinese toddlers, such as milk, could help ensure they receive the micronutrients currently lacking in their diet.

One of Nestlé’s 38 commitments to society is to 'reach 200 billion servings of micronutrient-fortified foods and beverages' a year by 2016.

The MING study is part of Nestlé’s commitment to 'build knowledge leadership in children's nutrition', deepening its understanding of children’s nutrition to develop relevant products and services.

Read more on the MING study (pdf, 200Kb)