Fortified Drink

Article excerpt

To Boost Health of Children in Developing World

A FORTIFIED, ORANGE-flavored powdered drink, tested in Tanzania by Cornell University researchers who found it can significantly help improve children s nutrition and growth, has been launched as a commercial product by Procter & Gamble Co. in the Philippines.

The drink can boost the diets of millions of children and others in the developing world, having the same effect in significantly reducing multiple nutritional deficiencies and improving height and weight as megadoses of nutrients and vitamin pills, says Michael C. Latham, professor of international nutrition. He found, for example, that children in East Africa who drank the beverage for six months gained almost twice as much weight and gained 26 percent more in height compared with children who did not receive the drink.

Latham, a professor, physician, and former director of Cornell's Program in International Nutrition for 25 years, together with UNICEF and the Micronutrient Initiative, asked Procter & Gamble to develop such a drink in the early 1990s, Latham tested it in Tanzania, presented the research to the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology in 1998, and subsequently encouraged Procter & Gamble to make the drink commercially available. Latham estimates it will cost between three and five cents a serving.

Called NutriDelight with GrowthPlus, the drink is a patented source of iron, vitamin A, and iodine. In the Philippines Latham is working closely with UNICEF and several public health groups to help reduce malnutrition.

"The beverage supplement is very popular with the children and provides a simple approach that can be administered easily by mothers without any medical intervention," Latham says. …

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