32% of mothers not giving children enough milk

PHOTO: 32% of mothers not giving children enough milk

A new study has revealed that one-third of Singapore mothers of children 3 to 6 years old underestimate the amount of milk their child needs every day.

The study found that 32 per cent of pre-schoolers aged 3 to 6 years old consume less than the 500ml daily milk intake recommended by the Health Promotion Board.

As they get older, the percentage rises even higher, to a startling 64 per cent of children aged between 7 and 10 years old failing to meet their daily required milk intake.

Instead, children are swapping their milk for a higher consumption of syrups, gassy and non-gassy drinks, the study said.

The study, published in the Journal of Pediatrics and Child, examined the beverage consumption habits of 800 children in Singapore.

It was lead by Associate Professor Daniel Goh from the University Children's Medical Institute of the National University Hospital and sponsored by Abbott Nutrition.

Professor Goh speculated that this could be due to the increasing choices of beverages being made available to children and the amount of advertising that they are being exposed to.

The study also found that freedom of choice has an impact on the beverages older children choose.

Hence, parents, especially mothers, have an important role to play in cultivating good dietary habits in their children, Prof Goh said.

According to the study, mothers have the greatest power to influence their child's beverage choice, wielding 81 per cent influence on children aged 3 to 6 years old, and 58 per cent in those aged 7 to 10 years old.

The findings come as a timely reminder to parents that they are the major determinants of their child's diet, and that insufficient calcium intake can lead to a deficiency that may be detrimental to the child's health even into adulthood, Prof Goh said.