A Growth and Development Summit was held recently in Dubai to help raise awareness on the importance of nutrition in the first 1,000 days of a child.
According to a study cited during the event, the nutrition that a mother and her child/children receives in the first 1,000 days from conception until 2 years of age, is important as it can be a factor in the future health wellness of a child.
Optimal nutrition, as discussed in the summit, can reduce the occurrence of non-communicable diseases such as stunting, allergy, heart disease, and diabetes in later life.
“We know that the first 1,000 days of a child’s life is a time of most rapid growth in one’s lifetime, and will shape their future health.
A healthy 1,000 days changes the course of a child’s life and has a significant impact on the individual’s intellectual and physical development which thereby will help shape their role in society,” Humaid Al Qatami, Chairman of the Board and Director General of the Dubai Health Authority (DHA).
According to Al Qatami, the forum was conducted amid calls of the World Health Organization on all countries to continue their efforts to decrease the number of childhood fatalities.
“The UAE already has a number of initiatives in place to promote mother and child health and DHA spares no effort in making Dubai’s society happier and this starts with mother and children as they are tomorrow’s generation.
Al Qatami added that DHA has introduced several initiatives such as the Tifli (my baby) app that provides information from preconception until the baby is two years, as well as the Sehhaty (my health) app, which allows family members to keep track of their health.
The summit was attended by over 300 healthcare professionals from different parts of the Middle East.
Dr. Wafa Ayesh, Director of Clinical Nutrition at DHA, said: “This summit helped generate awareness among experts in the region on the importance of educating parents in providing their children with the best nutritional foundation for the best start in life.”