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Affordable way to prevent stunting: An egg a day makes young people grow taller!

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KARACHI: Whether soft or hard-boiled, fried or whisked into an omelette, eggs appear to give infants a boost.

According to a report published in Pediatrics (journal published by American Academy of Pediatrics), egg could be an affordable answer to the menace of stunting (that leaves children too short for their age). 

Researchers hold that first two years of life are critical for growth and development and stunting is largely irreversible.

They further point out that poor nutrition is a major cause of stunting, along with childhood infections and illnesses.

According to WHO 155 million children under the age of five are stunted. Most live in low-and middle-income countries and health experts have been looking at ways to tackle the issue.

ONE EGG A DAY: 

Half of the 160 youngsters who took part in a random trial were fed an egg a day for six months – the others were monitored for comparison. Families were visited every week to ensure the plan’s regularity and to check for any allergies or side effects.

Stunting was reduced in the treatment group by the end of the study. Occurrence was 47% less than in the non-egg group, even though egg-fed infants were considered short for their age at the start.

Some of the children in the control group did eat eggs, but nowhere near as many as the treatment group.

The lead researcher said: “We were surprised by just how effective this intervention proved to be, and what’s great is the affordability for populations vulnerable to hidden hunger or nutritional deficiency.”

It was noted that eggs were great food for young children with small stomachs: “Eggs contain a combination of nutrients, which we think is important.”

A lead nutritionist at the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health, said: “In a way, it is surprising that more research has not been conducted using egg in this situation – although in some cultures, parents do not necessarily find egg to be an acceptable early food due to allergy concerns.

Lead researcher advised that eggs should always be well-cooked to avoid any potential infection risk.   Eggs are a good nutritious complementary food that can be introduced as part of a varied diet once the mother decides to start complementary feeding, never before four months.”

WHO recommends mothers worldwide to:

* Exclusively breastfeed infants for the child’s first six months to achieve optimal growth, development and health.

* After the first six months, infants should be given nutritious complementary foods and continue breastfeeding up to the age of two years or beyond.

British Nutrition Foundation maintains:

* While eggs are a nutritious food to include, it’s very essential for young children to have a variety of foods in a diet. Necessary to get all the vitamins and minerals needed, but also to become familiar with a wide range of tastes and textures.

* A range of protein-rich foods should be provided when feeding young children, which can include eggs but can also feature beans, pulses, fish, especially oily fish, meat and dairy products.

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Health

Pakistan-US Effort to Safeguard Children’s Food

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ISLAMABAD:  Researchers, government agencies, and private businesses from Pakistan and the United States announced today their cooperation to eliminate a toxic fungus that causes liver cancer and stunting in children.  The joint effort also aims to improve nutrition and safeguard the health of Pakistan’s citizens by securing a disease-free food supply.

Officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are working with the Pakistani company Rafhan Maize Products to target the fungus aflatoxin, which occurs naturally in crops.  The project will use a cutting-edge USDA technology that works to eliminate aflatoxin in the fields, where it affects up to 25% of all crops grown. This joint effort will make Pakistan a leader in global efforts to grow safer vegetables, such as maize, as well as nuts, such as pistachios, and will even help secure the health of livestock by protecting the plants grown as feed for the animals.

At the event to announce the project, Deputy Chief of Mission John Hoover from the U.S. Mission Pakistan congratulated the partners working on this effort and highlighted the long history of U.S.-Pakistani cooperation in the field of agriculture.  Commenting on the impact that fighting aflatoxin will have, Hoover, commented, “It will affect the health and job prospects of thousands of Pakistanis and improve the economic viability of Pakistani commodities for export.” 

Key partners working with the USDA to safeguard Pakistani crops include the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the National Agricultural Research Centre, and the Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International.

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Health

New blood test can spare cancer patients from chemotherapy

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SYDNEY: A simple new blood test in 40 hospitals in Australia and New Zealand could spare cancer patients from having to undergo unnecessary chemotherapy.
Developed by the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI) in Melbourne, the test is able to determine if fragments of tumor DNA are present in a patient’s blood after they’ve had tumors surgically removed.
At present, there is no clear way to tell if a tumor has been entirely removed or not, so patients after surgery are given chemotherapy treatment a precautionary measure.
“While chemotherapy is an essential, life-saving treatment, we don’t want patients receiving it if they don’t need it. We want to help these patients avoid serious and ongoing side-effects associated with chemotherapy,” trial lead Associate Professor Jeanne Tie, who is a clinician scientist at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute said in a statement on Wednesday.
But as well as sparing patients from a wide range of harmful side effects which include pain, fatigue, nausea, digestive issues, bleeding problems, fertility issues, increased susceptibility to infection, heart, lung, nerve and memory problems, the test will may also be able to detect if a patient requires an increased dose of chemotherapy.
“We would like to be able to tell some patients that they can safely avoid chemotherapy because their cancer is unlikely to recur,” Tie said.
“But for patients who are at a high risk of recurrence, we want to be able to give them a more intensive dose of chemotherapy than those with a lower risk of recurrence.”
Initially focused on early stage bowel cancer patients in 2015, the success of the trial saw the test then extend to help women with ovarian cancer in 2017.
Around 400 patients have already taken part in the trial and there are no plans to expand the program to 2000 before it finishes up in 2021.

 

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People urged to vaccinate children Anti-Measles injection

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RAWALPINDI: Member Provincial Assembly Chaudhry Amjad Mehmood Friday said a healthy child was essential for a healthy society and this message should be conveyed to every nook and cranny of the district.
Speaking at a seminar as chief guest held in connection with upcoming Measles campaign starting from October 15, he urged the religious scholars, teachers and elected representatives to play their due role in the anti-measles campaign and motivate the people to ensure preventive measures for their children against diseases.
He also underlined the importance of holding such seminars in order to create community awareness about measles. The seminar was organized by B-Malka Welfare society here at Kotha Kalan to create awareness regarding the importance of Measles vaccination for children.
In his address, Assistant Commissioner Iftikhar Sherazi said that a large number of infants were feared left without measles vaccine coverage, whereas in the case of those already vaccinated, the efficacy rate was not up to the mark.
He informed that 884 teams would go door to door under the campaign being launched from October 15,
and administer an anti-measles injection to 874,384 children from six months to seven years of age in all tehsils and union councils of the district. He further said that 221 fixed centers,208 medical officers,1768 Mobilizers and 52 supervisors would be part of the drive in order to facilitate the citizens and serve them at their doorsteps.
Meanwhile, Deputy District Health Officer Dr. Zeeshan in his address said that staff deployed for the campaign has been issued special instructions and informed that no negligence in that regard would be tolerated. He said that all possible steps had been taken by the Health Department to make the campaign a success.
Sufficient quantity of vaccine is available, and no stone will be left unturned in efforts to make the campaign the success.” He said continuous efforts were being made to control measles. Special teams had also been formed to cover areas from where the complaints about unattended children were registered, he said.  Among others, health officials religious scholars, traders, para-medical staff and a large number of citizens attended the seminar.

 

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