Is a Massive Child Nutrition Study Really Just An Attempt to Increase Dairy Consumption in Asia?


Photo: Matthieu Gasnier

In much of Southeast Asia dairy consumption is dramatically less than here in the United States. We claim that dairy prevents osteoporosis yet the United States has one of the highest rates of osteoporosis in the world, about 44 million Americans are threatened by the disease. Most recently, a private company announced details of a 12 month study into the health and nutrition of children in key regions of Southeast Asia, according to Food Navigator and reported by The Atlantic, but look a little deeper and it's all a bit fishy.FrieslandCampina announced one of the most expansive studies of its kind on child nutrition in key regions of Asia including Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam. According to the article:


  • Over 16,000 children, aged 12 and under, across the four counties are expected to participate in the study during the next 12 months. Using recognised scientific measurements, research will focus on three main areas:

  • Dietary profiling and nutrient intake assessment, including food intake, bone density and cognition.

  • Biochemical analysis of blood, including analysis of iron status, vitamins, lipid profile and blood pressure.

  • Assessment of body composition and physical activity, including measurements on weight, height and hand grip strength.

But the only catch is that FrieslandCampina is a private dairy company. According to The Atlantic, their products include "baby and infant food, milk-based drinks, cheese, milk, yoghurts, desserts, butter, cream, milk powder, dairy-based ingredients and fruit-based drinks." It seems quite certain that the outcomes of these studies will point towards more consumption of dairy for kids. It's like when Hershey's studied the antioxidant value of chocolate.

The effort to spread big dairy to the east is on. Let's hope it's not as dirty as in the west where factory dairy farms can be among the worst when it comes to ground water and air pollution as well as overuse of hormones and antibiotics.

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