Adulthood depends on how the first six years of a child is forged.

During a lecture on ‘zero to six’ on August 29, senior consultant and pediatrician Dr Ang Poon Liat, said that nurturing a child properly would help prevent diseases such as obesity, allergy, strokes, cancer and alzheimers in adulthood and old age. “The first six year is dedicated to the maximum brain growth.”

He spoke about the development of the brain and the nutrients required for the growth of a child from birth to six year of age to education and health officials at the convention centre, Thimphu.

Dr Ang Poon Liat said a child should be nourished with smart brain fats such as DHA, EPA, phospholipids and cholesterol for smart brain cell development, which are found in egg, fish, krill, krill oil and breast milk.

“As the brain develops very fast and critically in the first six years, smart brain fats should be present before the brain sets,” he said. “Replacement for breast milk after six months or a year should be done with natural food similar to breast milk and not with rice and vegetables.”

He said that until the brain is well developed, children should not be sent to school as the brain is not developed enough to study hard skills. Among the eight intelligence categories, hard skills include word-smart, logic-smart, picture-smart, body-smart and music-smart.

Dr Ang Poon Liat said parents should be the gatekeeper of the child’s destiny and teach children to eat the right food and to develop soft skills such as people-smart, self-smart and nature-smart. “Hard skills will get you to the door of a company but it’s the soft skills that make you go up the ladder.”

The doctor also talked about proper sex determination of a child which can be done by avoiding foods which contain estrogen such as soy products, beer, pellet in chicken neck, meat of animals injected with hormones, cosmetics, and fruits and vegetables spread with fungicides and pesticides.

Modern diets such as processed foods, white sugar and soy products, and trans fat like processed vegetable oils should be avoided for proper nurturing of the child’s body and mind.

Responding to a question from the floor, Dr Ang Poon Liat said that brain development can continue even after crossing the age of six. “Our body learns and survives; nature has designed our body to heal, if you stop the toxic elements, your body will recover.”

Karma Cheki