How can eating instant noodles can be harmful to children?

Many Filipino families prefer instant noodles as a staple in every household because it is cheaper and much easier to prepare.

In a recent report, it says that instant noodles bring convenience and ease in preparation, it can also give harmful effects to our health, most especially for children.

In a report by French news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP), Asian countries like the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia have an average of 40% of children aged 5 and below are malnourished.

Malnourishment in early childhood causes stunted growth, compromises a child’s immune system, and can cause learning and cognitive disabilities. 

“Parents believe that filling their children’s stomach is the most important thing. They don’t really think about an adequate intake of protein, calcium or fiber,” Indonesian public health expert Hasbullah Thabrany said.

According to UNICEF, the harmful effects brought to children is both a symptom of “past deprivation” and “predictor of future poverty.”

For families without time or resources to prepare regular meals, instant noodles seem the perfect food.

They are inexpensive  most cost between P8 and P15 here in the Philippines, are easy to manufacture and to transport, require no special storage, have a longer shelf life that can be measured in years and are so easy to prepare even a child can do it.

Meanwhile, iron deficiency can also affect the kid’s ability to learn and could increase the risk of a woman’s death during or shortly after childbirth.

“Noodles are easy. Noodles are cheap. Noodles are quick and an easy substitute for what should have been a balanced diet,” UNICEF Asia nutrition specialist Mueni Mutunga said.

She also explained that the instant noodles are inexpensive, they only cost P12 per pack are low on nutrients and micronutrients like iron and have high fat and salt content.

Aside from instant noodles, other sugar-rich biscuits, beverages and fast-food restaurants are also becoming problems in these Asian countries.

According to the health experts, “poverty is the key issue” why many Asian families opt for instant noodles, noting that parents are also busy with work and prefer quickly made meals.

Source: KAMI

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