Nutrients Essential for Cognitive Function Are Typical Problem Nutrients in the Diets of Myanmar Primary School Children: Findings of a Linear Programming Analysis

Le Thandar Soe, Umi Fahmida, Ali Nina Liche Seniati, Agus Firmansyah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Good cognitive function is important for school-age children. Although essential fatty acids play a main role in cognitive functions, their intakes are assumed as inadequate among developing countries including Myanmar. However, there is still lack of evidence to show whether they are problem nutrients. Objective: This study aimed to determine the problem nutrients in the diets of Myanmar primary schoolchildren and to formulate food-based recommendations (FBR) to optimize the intake of these micronutrients. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted at 3 primary schools in Nyaungdon Township of Myanmar. A 1-week dietary intake assessment was done on 7- to 9-year-old (n = 100) primary schoolchildren. A linear programming approach using the World Health Organization Optifood software was used to assess the nutrient intake and develop FBRs. Results: The prevalence of stunted growth, wasting, and being underweight in the students were 28%, 18%, and 28%, respectively. The intake of calcium, vitamin B1, folate, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid, and docosahexaenoic acid was insufficient. Locally available nutrient-dense foods that include water spinach, carp fish, duck egg, garden pea, and shrimp were selected to develop FBR to increase the intake of problem nutrients. Conclusion: The linear programming analysis showed that the primary schoolchildren have difficulty meeting nutrient recommendations given locally available foods, especially iron and essential fatty acids which are important for cognitive performance of schoolchildren.

Original languageEnglish
JournalFood and Nutrition Bulletin
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2020

Keywords

  • cognitive function
  • essential fatty acids
  • food-based recommendations
  • linear programming
  • Myanmar primary schoolchildren
  • Optifood

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