Nutrient Intake in Vietnamese Preschool and School-Aged Children is Not Adequate: The Role of Dairy

13/12/2023

Background

The traditional Vietnamese diet carries the risk of micronutrient deficiencies, and a substantial part of children <11 years do not meet the Vietnamese recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for a range of nutrients. Dairy products are known for their high nutrient density and milk in particular for its provision of high-quality protein and relevant concentrations of calcium, magnesium, vitamin B2, vitamin B12, and pantothenic acid.

Objective

The present study aimed to evaluate the contribution of dairy to the overall nutrient intakes in the diets of Vietnamese children and to gain insight into factors affecting dairy consumption.

Methods

Food intake, including dairy, was assessed by a 24-hour recall in 2811 Vietnamese children clustered into 4 age-groups: 1.0 to 2.9, 3.0 to 5.9, 6.0 to 8.9, and 9.0 to 11.9 years, and dairy was categorized into 6 product groups based on available information in the Vietnamese food composition table.

Results

Higher dairy intake was associated with significantly higher intakes (in % estimated average requirement and %RDA) of all assessed nutrients, and largest effects and strongest associations were found for vitamin B2, calcium, vitamin D, fat, vitamin B1, protein, vitamin A, and zinc. Age, area of residence, and wealth status influenced the consumption of dairy products. Furthermore, age also influenced nutrient intake adequacy, which was generally lower at older age, especially after the age of 6 years.

Conclusion

The nutrient composition of the diet in especially Vietnamese school-aged children requires attention, and (fortified) dairy can play an important role in this.

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