Poet, Author, Editor, Creative Writing Consultant

Sunday, May 22, 2016

#CatchUpOnGrowth: Horlicks Growth+ to Ensure Kids No Longer Fall Behind on Growth

 It was a wonderful gathering of Indibloggers at The Lalit in Delhi. I love The Lalit for its sophisticated and quiet ambience, its understated elegance.  I was attending a meet after a long time, and it could be because Indibloggers hold fewer gatherings in Delhi. But as before, this meet was also a wonderful gathering of diverse people with diverse voices, the common factor being that all of us blog. There was no waiting period here, one began with lunch, so the appetite was sated enough and people could interact and connect before the main event started.

In the hall, abuzz with excitement, silence soon prevailed when the games began. Yes, the introductory game of choosing a number from 1 to 10, and you had to talk a little about yourself and hope for a great prize, like a rose, or an apple or a thousand bucks.

Arvind Passey was lucky to get the thousand bucks;  Rahul Prabhakar was luckier to get a couple of roses, one of which he gifted to a friend he was seeing after a long time. Another contestant said she loved an apple (after some cogitation), and received one.We were all confused for a while and the contestant’s hopes must have skyrocketed for that split second, before she said she did like an apple, and was given the fruit. 

Do I like apple?
Oh these technology-driven days, when apple just made you want Apple instead.

Natasha Badhwar introducing the panelists

And then there was a panel discussion on nutrition and growth in children, with moderator Natasha Badhwar, a proud mother of three and a blogger, entrepreneur and media professional introducing the panelists. The panelists were Dr. Rajiv Chhabra, HOD of Paediatrics at Artemis Hospital, Gurgaon; Ms Satinder Kaur Walia, who currently runs a centre named 'Learning at Potential', a centre for psychological and educational assessment; and Dr .Jyoti Batra, currently working as the Head Dietician at Batra Hospital.

The panelists

Peer pressure: discussion during the tea break, where weight conscious suddenly (what you see and hear does influence you immediately), I opted for black tea with honey and lemon instead of my standard milky fare with sugar, with a new blogger friend who is the mother of pre-teen kids, went something like this, “Peer pressure, which was discussed by the panelists, is so true. My daughter loves sabzi-roti which she will take to school for two days of the week. On the third day, she will take a sandwich. Not because she likes it, but because everyone brings sandwiches to school for lunch.”

There had been a discussion regarding the nutritious value of ‘paranthas’. ‘Paranthas’ were considered nutritious by the panelists. That threw me and I brought the issue up. Paranthas are loaded with oil /ghee, and did not figure in my dictionary of ‘nutritious’. The comeback was, ‘All mothers today consciously put less oil and never use ghee. And… we were comparing paranthas with pasta, the latter being maida-based. And…we could stuff them with vegetables.’ Everything is relative in life, and if I remember giving up those (lip smacking, mouth watering) paranthas made by my nani as a kid because it was adding to my girth; now, in comparison to fast foods and junk food, paranthas, consciously cooked, are nutritious. Mothers I spoke with in the coffee-break agreed with the panelists, saying that home-made paranthas were a good choice over market hamburgers and pizza. I totally agreed with this part of the argument.

But there was lots more learning to be done. I think the panel discussion was the best part of the program because the panelists discussed the issues without forcing any idea or product down our throats. They were informative and the primary concern was to answer the concerns of today’s rather anxious mothers.

Some points that surfaced were:
1.     Busy parents have to be willing to cook food for the children rather than agreeing to their demands for fast-foods which lets parents off the hook as far as cooking is concerned, but adds to growth related and weight related problems. (Ms. Satinder K. Walia)
2.     Physical growth is closely linked to psychological growth and well being of a child. A child who is low in nutrition and does not have the normal growth rate, would need his/her diet to be monitored and supplemented. Here, supplements like the Horlicks product being introduced today, specially formulated for such children, would help.
3.     Again, An overweight child may often be deficient in nutrients. Here too, conscious diet management would be required.
4.     1 Parle G biscuit is equivalent in calories to one roti with ghee. So parents saying that their child has only has 4 biscuits, need to do a rethink. (Dr. Rajiv Chhabra)
5.     Stuff paranthas with healthy vegetables. Make burgers at home with wheat burgers instead of maida burgers. Fill with cottage cheese etc. instead of processed cheese (Dr. Jyoti Batra)
6.     The Indian preoccupation with making kids drink milk is overdone. Too much milk will cause loss of iron in the body, and can make a child anaemic. (Dr. Rajiv Chhabra)
7.     Calcium received has to be properly processed by the body, for which Vitamin D is required. Vitamin D is received in the early morning from exposure to the sun before 11 am, with as few clothes on as possible. Between 11am and 4pm, children should be kept out of the sun because then the sun is too strong. (Dr. Rajiv Chhabra)
8.     Most of the factors contributing to parental anxiety stem from today’s life-style, the availability of junk foods and the lack of exercise.
Post the coffee/tea break, the product Horlicks Growth+ was introduced to us. Mr. Amaan Khan Marketing Lead for Horlicks for the Indian Sub-Continent at GSK Consumer Healthcare. He spoke about the product.  He showed us a film with mothers talking of how their children lost out in various ways (class performance, sports, self-confidence) because their physical growth was not in keeping with the normal parameters.
Mr. Amaan Khan speaking about Horlicks Growth +

And since the clock could not be turned back, it was an eye-opener to the need for making sure that children did meet the normal parameters. One way to ensure they did this would be by giving them the Horlicks Growth +, of course, under the doctor’s guidance.

We were served a little of the drink in a cup each on our tables. Let me tell you it tasted delicious. I was served vanilla flavour, which I prefer over chocolate, which is the other flavor available in this drink. I liked it so much that I wanted to know if adults like us, not growing but enjoying the taste of this product, could opt for it too.

Dr. Aditya Kaushik, who heads Medical Affairs for Indian Subcontinent at GSK Consumer Healthcare, said that no, we could not make it our Sunday afternoon drink. It was specially developed after several years of research to meet the needs of those children between the age group3-9 years, to trigger the growth in those falling behind the growth curve (in height and weight). Results are visible within 6 months, according to their trials. Horlicks Growth + contains high quality whey protein, growth amino acids and vitamins, minerals from natural sources.

GSK Consumer Healthcare has extended Horlicks, India’s leading Health Food Drink (HFD), into the advanced nutrition category with the launch of Horlicks Growth+. It claims to be the first brand in the category clinically proven for catch up on weight and height in children aged 3-9.

Differences in Growth

It tasted so good, that I was a trifle crestfallen to hear that adults could not drink this as a drink or a supplement of any kind. But it was good to know that children who really need this product now had something going for them.
How Horlicks Growth + helps growth spurt

Parents were also told that they cannot just buy it off the market and give it to their children. They have to get a doctor/pediatrician to prescribe it, which the doctor would do only if s/he considered its requirement. I like the fact that this was no out and out ‘buy this product for your self and your child at any cost’ tom-tomming of a product by a company. I liked the cautionary tone and I appreciated the fact that the spokespeople were insistent that it is geared for some children alone, who Really Need It.

Of course, it is an expensive product and cannot be bought by all and sundry, being aimed at the urban middle class with money to spend on their children. I wish there was something cheaper available for the rest of India, but maybe Horlicks is already thinking of that.

Coming back to the Indiblogger meet, that was not all. After this we had a Human Card shuffle (fun), and joined hands with nine others to form teams of ten members, to produce 20 second videos, and the best team would win. My team was team No. 3 and we called ourselves the Transformers (you know, transforming children), and we had a blast producing the videos, in which I was the sasu-maa (any takers?) giving my wisdom and ahem! age.

Our team hard at work
We share a light moment(you can see my spectacles on my head)

Our Te
 My personal takeaway:
1.     The takeaway Horlicks product, shown here. Thank you, Horlicks and Indiblogger Team, I am grateful, but I wish something I could use could have been added to this? 
Horlicks Growth + beautifully packaged
2.     I cast off my inhibition regarding making instant videos. Watch my blog space from now on, for some instant homemade videos.
3.     I look at each biscuit as something I cannot, will not, chomp on without thinking of the calories.
4.     I will read my magazines and novels sitting in the early morning sun outside, soaking up the sunlight and get that vitamin D.
5.     More than ever before, I realize that what is needed is a lifestyle change so that our children grow healthy and well.
And that's how much I enjoyed being there!

Here's the link to Horlicks Growth + https://growthplus.horlicks.in