Why is Gut Health Important for Young Children?
“Many parents don’t realise that proactively taking care of their child’s gut health can benefit their overall health and well-being. Some of the common gastrointestinal problems in children include abdominal pain and bad poop like constipation and diarrhoea. As these conditions can impact a child’s day-to-day functioning and development, it is important that parents play a proactive role by monitoring the signs and symptoms of their child’s digestive health.”
– Dr Christina Ong, Paediatrician and Paediatric Gastroenterologist, SOG – Christina Ong Clinic for Children and Gastroenterology
Close to 70 percent of the immune system lives in the digestive system, and it also contains more neurotransmitters than the brain(*1). Furthermore, the gut produces 95% of the body’s serotonin, a hormone that regulates emotions(*1), so a good digestive system can result in a healthy and happy child.
FRISO launches Singapore’s First-Ever Good Poop Advisory Panel
In view of World Digestive Health Day on 29 May 2020, FRISO launched Singapore’s first-ever Good Poop Advisory Panel. The aim of the panel is to draw attention to the importance of good gut health in kids.
The Friso Good Poop Advisory Panel is helmed by David Naidu, General Manager, FrieslandCampina Singapore, with rotating guest experts invited throughout the year to share their insights around good digestion through the panel as part of a nationwide campaign, #GoodPoopMattersBaby, by FRISO to educate and empower parents to help their children achieve good gut health.
Guest experts on the panel such as Dr. Christina Ong, Paediatrician and Paediatric Gastroenterologist, SOG – Christina Ong Clinic for Children and Gastroenterology and Ms. Bibi Chia, Principal Dietitian, Raffles Diabetes & Endocrine Centre will share their insights on digestion through compelling educational materials as well as virtual Q&A sessions in the month of June. The panel will continue to expand its commitment to advocate good digestive health in children through a variety of initiatives such as public events in the longer term.
Keeping track of a child’s digestive health can be challenging, but according to Ms. Chia, there is one particularly reliable indicator of a child’s gut health that parents should pay attention to.
“Your child’s poop is a great, visible indicator of their gut health and can be a source of anxiety for parents especially when there are signs of bad digestion in your child. Instead of addressing bad digestion only when it happens, there are simple preventive measures that parents can take to help their children achieve good poop. This includes consuming a diet comprising a variety of natural foods, paying attention to how the food is made, ensuring food sources are of high quality and avoiding processed foods for good digestive health,” said Ms. Chia.
“All parents want the best for their child’s health and happiness. Since poop is the most obvious indicator of a child’s digestive health, we hope that Singaporean parents will be empowered with knowledge to help their children achieve good poop via a natural approach to digestion to help them grow strong and healthy at every stage of development,” said David Naidu, General Manager at FrieslandCampina Singapore.
How To Achieve Good Digestion?
When setting out to achieve good digestion, it is important to choose naturally wholesome, prebiotic- rich foods that are beneficial for gut health, such as foods high in soluble fibre (e.g. oatmeal, broccoli, beans), foods rich in a natural plant compound called polyphenols (e.g. berries, grapes, dark chocolate), or foods that work as probiotics (e.g. yoghurt)(*2).
Parents should also be aware of the processing methods involved in how food is produced, and the amount of preservatives and additives included as these can impact the nutritional value of the food. Understanding the source of the foods and reading the labels of pre-packaged foods that a child consumes can also help parents make informed food choices, especially when it comes to choosing foods from reliable sources known for their high-quality produce.
The Scoop on Poop: Insights into your child’s digestive health
- Some common digestion problems among Singaporean children include constipation, infant colic and gastroenteritis.
- Many Singaporean children may experience a phase of being fussy eaters. Here are some tips to help them enjoy mealtimes while maintaining their nutritional needs:
- Maintain control of what food is available, when and where meals are eaten, but for the child to decide how much he or she wants to eat.
- Turn off all mobile devices and electronics during mealtimes.
- For some fussy eaters, using a compartmentalised plate might help.
- Keep meals to 30 minutes and provide realistic amounts which the child can finish.
- Limit large quantities of fluid just before meals or during meals.
- Don’t give up– it may take 8 to10 tries before the child might accept new foods.
- Understanding the different poop colours is key to understand our child’s gut health. Good poop colours range from yellow-brown, brown, green-brown, green-black and green in children. The Bristol Stool Chart (*3) is a great resource to describe the shape of good poop.
For more information, follow the conversation online using #GoodPoopMattersBaby.
(*3) https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg99/resources/cg99-constipation-in-children-and-young-people-bristol- stool-chart-2
About FRISO and FrieslandCampina
100% packed and produced in the Netherlands, FRISO is present in over 25 countries and ranked as one of the top 55 formula milk brands in Asia. FRISO is a brand under one of the world’s largest dairy company FrieslandCampina, which is also a cooperative jointly owned by over 18,000 dairy farmer members from over 12,000 dairy farms in Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. Founded in 1871, FrieslandCampina has over 140 years of expertise in milk and its application, allowing it to produce a wide range of quality, nutrient-rich foods including dairy-based beverages, toddler nutrition, cheese, functional dairy-based ingredients and more for consumers, businesses and industries worldwide.
About World Digestive Health Day
Every 29th May, the World Gastroenterology Organisation (WGO), in collaboration with the WGO Foundation (WGOF), celebrates World Digestive Health Day (WDHD) and initiates a yearlong, worldwide, public health campaign through more than 110 WGO Member Societies which reach over 50,000 individuals worldwide, WGO Training Centres, Regional Affiliate Associations and other WGO global partners. Each year focuses upon a particular digestive disease and/or disorder in order to increase general public awareness of prevention, prevalence, diagnosis, management and treatment of the disease and/or disorder. Learn more about WDHD here.