Cereal and milk key contributors to iron and calcium intake for Aussie kids: Survey

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DSC_4158Most Australian kids struggle to meet their recommended dietary intakes of iron and calcium — essential nutrients that support brain and bone development.

Dieticians and nutritionists who work within NSW multicultural communities came together this June to help understand the breakfast habits of growing children within the South Asian community in Australia, and the importance of iron and calcium at breakfast.

The survey of the nation’s dietary intake released data in May shows that breakfast cereals and milk are the largest contributors of iron and calcium in children’s diets. Data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics also shows that breakfast cereal contributes about 23 per cent of a 4-8 year old child’s iron intake. This figure was 19 per cent for children aged 9-13 years making breakfast cereal the largest contributor to iron intakes in Australian children.

An earlier Flinders University report found that in general, 4-8 year olds who don’t eat breakfast cereal fall short of meeting their recommended dietary intake of iron.  The report also showed that children who ate breakfast cereal had twice the milk intakes across the day compared to those that didn’t.

Dietitian Archana Gulvady says, “There are a growing proportion of South-Asian migrants living in western countries like Australia who suffer from low iron levels attributed to their largely vegetarian diets with inadequate intake of iron-rich foods.” She added that breakfast options such as cereal and milk can be a great source of adding iron and calcium to the diet.

“Cereal and milk are the largest contributors of iron and calcium in Australian children’s diets. Research shows children who eat breakfast cereal get about twice the iron and calcium at breakfast compared to those that don’t,” says Dr Michelle Celander PhD, senior nutrition and regulatory affairs manager, Kellogg ANZ.

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“Few other breakfast options that kids eat provide the iron and calcium of cereal with milk. A bowl of cereal and a glass of milk can provide up to 30 per cent of a young child’s daily iron and calcium needs, which is a significant proportion,” says Celander.

“Kellogg’s Nutrition advocates a balanced breakfast of grains, dairy and fruit to maximize the nutritional opportunity at breakfast. A balanced breakfast provides the best start to the day for kids, to help ensure they meet their daily nutrient requirements,” continues Dr Celander.

For more information, go to www.kellogghealthprofessionalanz.com.

Published in The Indian Sun (Indian Newspaper in Sydney)

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