Madrid 28 October: The EC funded project EURRECA is ‘ironing out’ the potentially harmful variations in nutrient recommendations for babies and children across Europe – an increasingly practical problem as families move freely from country to country within Europe to work and to raise their families.
Professor Luis Moreno, University of Zaragoza Chair of the EURRECA symposium at the Federation of Nutrition Societies meeting (Madrid, Friday 28 October 1100-1300) and a specialist in nutrition, lifestyle and children says: “Babies and children are particularly vulnerable during their growth in the womb, early years and in adolescence. If they do not have access to all the micronutrients they need, this can leave them with a ‘deficit’ that can impact on their lifelong health and reduce their chances of optimal growth and development.”
EURRECA’s work on mapping variations in nutrient recommendations currently in place for babies, children and adolescents has revealed a huge variance in those recommendations, with some countries having no recommendations, and others simply based on extrapolating their recommendations from the adult recommended ‘dose’.
Professor Berthold Koletzko, University of Munich and the EURRECA lead for setting nutrient requirements for young populations says: “It is not good enough to simply extrapolate micronutrient recommendations for babies and children from adult data as there are fundamental differences in physiology, metabolism and energy requirements between adults and youngsters, plus added factors such as deposition of nutrients during infant growth. Extrapolation is only a proxy, and it will result in errors. It is only acceptable in the absence of sound scientific data.
“Extrapolation has led to wide variations in recommendation levels, for example, for Iodine. Iodine recommendations for babies at 9 months currently stand at 50 ug/d in the Nordic countries, 130 ug/d in the USA and 90 is recommended by the WHO.
“Which level will deliver optimal growth and development? This is a vital question as iodine deficiency has many adverse effects on growth and development and is the most common cause of preventable mental impairment worldwide."
Notes to Editors:
The EURRECA (European micronutrient recommendations aligned) Network of Excellence is funded by the European Commission and co-ordinated by ILSI Europe – Contract Number FP6: 036196-2 FOOD. The Network is made up of 35 partners based in 17 countries. Further information is available at http://www.eurreca.org/
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