Thai Children Encouraged to Drink More Milk to Boost IQ

 | Mon 9 Jun 2014 18:19 ICT

An increase of bad diet and malnutrition in Thai children has been labelled as alarming by the Southeast Asia Nutrition Society (SEANUTS), sparking an increase in the promotion of the benefits of milk and healthy living.

SEANUTS research conducted over the last three years in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam has indicated that across Southeast Asia, more children will be overweight, shorter and have a lower IQ over the next decade. Academics have begun promoting healthier lifestyles and drinking milk to increase calcium levels and promote development.

The research also showed that Thai children who were overweight aged three to six would most likely be obese by the age of 12. Anaemia was also found to occur twice as much in rural children, resulting from a vitamin D deficiency.

The research warned that if left unchecked these deficiencies could develop to become a national problem over the next decade. SEANUTS’s principle investigator, Dr Nipa Rojroongwasinkul, said that many Thai parents lacked knowledge about nutrition and should work along with the state to increase the intake of essential vitamins and minerals.

Pregnant women who were deficient in iron and iodine could affect their child’s IQ it was warned. Thai children’s IQ are averaging at 90-92, when it should be around 100 according to normal standards.

The increase of western foods has also played detriment to Thailand’s health problems, with Thailand ranking as the second fattest country in Southeast Asia.

Sponsored by the Foremost milk manufacturer, FrieslandCampina, the research insisted that eating healthy, sleeping enough and exercising would improve bone flexibility and increase growth. Drinking milk was strongly urged too, increasing the intake of calcium and help develop IQ.

The Department of Health’s Bureau of Nutrition specialist, Sa-nga Damapong said the government was acting on this new information. Projects such as preventing malnutrition and to reduce the consumption of sugary, fatty and salty foods are already in place. However, he assured more would be done to encourage healthy eating and increase parent’s understanding of the dangers of unhealthy diets.