To help address the issues, Danone has reformulated and fortified its Dumex range. The newly improved formula contains high levels of DHA and includes all the essential nutrients such as iron, calcium, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, fiber (inulin) and lactose.
The Dumex Dugro Growing Up Milk range (for children age 12 months & above), its historical brand in Malaysia, is purchased more than 3m times a year.
Danone said IDA, a type of micronutrient deficiency, is the most common nutritional anemia in the world and currently affects 11m children under the age of five in Southeast Asia.
As unemployment and food insecurity rise due to COVID-19, loss of income or poverty will further impact nutrition habits, increasing the risk of micronutrient deficiencies, particularly in iron, the company said.
"As the manufacturer of leading young child formula brand Dugro in Malaysia, we have a key role to play to ensure our products are nutritious,” Danish Rahman, general manager of Danone Specialized Nutrition Malaysia, Singapore & Brunei, said.
“This ensures we can benefit as many people as possible. We continually invest in research and development to understand the nutritional needs of Malaysian children and subsequently improve the nutritional profile of our products so we can offer solutions that best meet their needs."
Danone said it is committed to supporting Malaysian families as the country navigates health and nutritional challenges.
Some initiatives that the company is embarking on include: Working with healthcare partners to scale up IDA screenings nationwide and to raise awareness about micronutrient deficiencies among parents and pediatricians; providing resources and expertise to test and scale up the use of non-invasive devices to measure iron levels without having to draw blood; and engagement with healthcare professionals and researchers, NGOs and the Malaysian Welfare Department to assess needs for Danone to provide support wherever and whenever it is needed.
"At Danone, our aim is to inspire healthier and more sustainable eating and drinking practices for everyone. As such, Danone will continue to actively participate in the public health priority to address iron deficiency anemia in children in Malaysia in the years to come," Rahman said.