During Asian Congress of Nutrition 2019 (4-7 August 2019), FrieslandCampina Institute hosted a symposium with theme “Role of Protein in Early and Later Stage of Life”. Through the symposium, experts shared their views on the importance of protein for development in children and also for ageing.
Dr. Damayanti R. Sjarif, renowned paediatrician and senior lecturer in department of paediatrics, Medicine Faculty of Universitas Indonesia, highlighted that the main issue of childhood development in Asia, stunting, affects both physical and cognitive development and may contribute to increased risk of non-communicable disease.
One of the main factors that causes stunting is inadequate nutrient intake. She emphasised that one of the most important nutrient which plays a key role in prevention of stunting is protein. Through her presentation she also remarked how animal protein is especially important for child growth. Animal protein sources such as red meat, poultry, fish, eggs and milk provide high quality protein which has all the nine essential amino acids to complement children’s required nutrient intake for development.
Dr. Ruth Chan, senior research fellow of The Chinese University of Hong Kong, continued the session with her presentation on healthy aging. In Asia, as the population grows older, ageing population becomes a bigger public health challenge. Educating health professionals and older people regarding the role of protein and providing detailed information such as the optimal amount of protein to consume, importance of protein quality and distribution of daily protein intake to promote ageing well is highly important. Among the factors that should be taken into consideration when assessing an individual’s protein requirement are: their baseline nutritional status, habitual protein intake and cultural variations in dietary intake.