Saturday, May 21, 2016

An Informative Evening with Horlicks and Indiblogger

“Mamma! I will drink Horlicks, I want to be healthy like Aarav!”  My five year old kid’s take away from his first IndiBlogger’s Meet!

Thank God! Now, he insists me to give a glass of milk with Horlicks every afternoon.

It was really a great gift for me from Indiblogger team on Mother’s Day! Yes, it was on Mother’s Day evening at Taj Vivanta, Bangalore. Beautiful ambience, lovely bloggers….extremely informative presentations, discussions and above all winning the Quiz….all of them made my ‘Day’ a very special one.

Indiblogger Team greeted us with sweetest smiles, as always. Coffee, tea and Horlicks were awaiting us. A glass of mango juice with Horlicks’ flavour mesmerized me totally….I missed to ask for the recipe, by the way.

The event started with an energetic intro by Anoop. First on the agenda was Jill Castle’s keynote presentation. She is an American Childhood nutrition expert with over 25 years of experience. She is a registered dietitian/nutritionist (RDN), located in New Canaan, Connecticut. (

What she talked about was really an eye-opener for most of the mothers in India, including me.

48% of Indian children are stunted. 80% of kids in India have micro-nutrients deficiency.  8 out of 10 kids suffer from micro-nutrients deficiency whereas 30% is in developing countries. Jaw struck? Me too, that very moment.
Children need to be strong inside so that they can grow well outside. Looking healthy needn’t always indicates being healthy.  Getting all the necessary nutrition in the right proportion is extremely important to be a real healthy child. To lead a healthy life, child should have energy and healthy immune system. For that, we need have both micro and macro-nutrients in right proportion, which includes carbohydrates, protein, calcium, healthy fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals. All these are extremely necessary to develop immunity.

But, sadly in India, malnutrition in children is a common problem. India has the highest percentage of children with deficiency of vitamin A. Nearly 226 millions school-aged children are deficients of iodine and zinc, worldwide. Approximately 3,30,000 children die directly and indirectly every year due to this issue.

In most of the families, the child leaves for school just devouring a glass of milk as breakfast, because of various reasons. They skip the breakfast which should consists of carbs, protein, and vitamins. Besides, most of the people are not aware that milk, which is over-boiled, loss it’s nutrition.

Jill particularly mentioned if a child misses the breakfast for some reason, he/she should not skip a glass of milk with a healthy food beverage. It can go a long way in helping the child get the day’s proportion of micro-nutrients. Here, she referred Horlicks, which is now enhanced its Vitamin D and Selenium content – which are really critical for a healthy growth.

Besides, Jill talked about hidden hunger. Healthy from outside, but deficient of nutrients, vitamins and minerals from inside! It may lead to regular illness. Inadequate intake of micro-nutrients leads to hidden hunger. In case of pregnant women, it can lead to premature deliveries and affect brain development in the fetus.  Hidden hunger is especially extensive in developing countries where the diet is deficient of essential vitamins and minerals.

As per Jill, vegetarian diet, lack of affordability to dairy products, and the influence of western junk food are among few of the reasons for the deficiency of micro-nutrients in Indian kids. 

How to assess Micro-nutrient deficiency?

-      Regular medical check-up of children
-      A keen lock out of symptoms specific to deficiency of different micro-nutrients.
-      Use web and mobile based applications to assess the nutrition components of your child’s diet. This helps in identifying the gap in nutrition and helping in meeting it.  

What we can do at family level ? 

-  Introduce variety in the diet of the children. Wider variety may give better nutrition.
- Create a kitchen garden - grow vegetables/fruits to get nutritious food, include your kids in gardening, they would love to eat the vegetables/fruits, nurtured by them.
-  Involve kids in cooking, they would love cooking their own meal.
-  Mixed grains offer better micro-nutrients, include grains, beans and cereals in the daily diet.

What we can do at School level ?

-   Teachers should promote healthy lunchbox.
-   Identify the poor energy and concentration of children and inform parents
-   School should promote health checkups/organize health checkup camps.

After  Jill’s presentation,  the marketing head of the Horlicks, Amaan Khan took the dias to talk about the various initiatives taken up by the brand to address malnutrition in both urban and rural areas. He referred to the extensive IMRB research data, sharing the statistics and impact of nutrient deficiency.

IMRB Survey Results:

-  30% of children miss school for more than 5 days due to illness
-  82% mothers feel that weak immunity has repercussions on a child in long run.
-  Mothers claim their child falls sick 4 times a year and for 11 days a year.
- 13% of children have missed an exam due to illness.
-  Mothers claim to spend an average amount of Rs. 850 monthly of Paediatric medicine.

Amaan highlighted the 23 vital nutrients for growth and development. Horlicks has been relaunched in a new pack design and enhanced with 2X Immuno Nutrients with twice the quantity of Selenium and Vitamin D. Horlicks contains nine nutrients (Vitamin B6, B12, C, D, Copper, Folic Acid, Iron, Selenium and Zinc) which are scientifically proven to have an important role in supporting immunity. Earlier, the nutrient content of Horlicks were: Folic Acid, Iron, Vitamin C, Vitamin B12 and Vitamin B6, which were 100% whereas Vitamin D and Selenium where 50%. Now they have increased it to 100%.  Hence, just two cups of Horlicks fulfils the daily requirement of all vital micro-nutrients for growing children.

Horlicks contains all the 9 nutrients which are scientifically proven to strengthen immunity, make the child taller, stronger, healthier by making bones stronger, increasing concentration in children, building stronger muscles and healthy weight.

He also informed us about the Horlicks Nutrimeter, an interesting tool to identify the hidden gaps in our daily nutrition. This tool provides full nutrition assessment and covers Indian food items too. You can also give a missed call to 8000980009 to download it and keep track on daily nutrition.

Horlicks is now addressing the issue of malnutrition through school outreach programs, and also extending their concern to the rural areas where micro-nutrient deficiency is common.

A very interesting panel discussion followed this, which included a Q & A Session too. The panelists were paediatrician Dr. Hegde,  an Indian nutritionist, Jill Castle and Amaan Khan.

Dr.Hegde spoke about his experience with children in Bangalore. The nutritionist talked about why a balanced diet is extremely important, and also recommended using “5,2,1,0” where:

5 includes fruit diet : 5 servings of fruits and vegetables in our daily diet
2 : is street food which recommends restricting screen time to 2 hours or less
1 : for at least one hour of physical activity
0 : the number for carbonated and artificial beverages.

My Take-Away from the Panel Discussion :

Eat lot of fruits and vegetables. Even though, many artificial agents like fertilizer, pesticides etc. are used in the cultivation of the fruits and vegetables, still they are worth consuming for some of the nutrition.  

After the panel discussion, we had a quiz where our team was the runner up : as out of 7 questions, we answered six correctly.

The event ended up with lovely group picture in Anoop’s style “Hell Yeah!!” and a delicious dinner.

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