life’sDHA™, a brand of Royal DSM, a global science-based company active in health, nutrition and materials, has announced “Be a Hero,” India’s first multi-city program to emphasize the benefits of making the right diet and lifestyle choices to support children’s brain health. The program officially launched on Nov. 8, 2012, inviting kids, ages 6 to 10 years old, to participate in a series of events on Nov. 24 2012 across four cities in India—Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore and Kolkata.
Encouraging children to be heroes by building strong and healthy brains, the campaign explores the extraordinary workings of the mind and body in connection with its environment. It seeks to show how healthy eating habits, staying physically fit, challenging the mind and being socially connected support overall brain health and well-being. life’sDHA believes that these four dimensions combined with the recommended amount of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acid and major structural fat in the brain, help to support brain development and health and children become active contributors to India’s future growth and society.
“DHA is essential to the development of a child’s brain, representing 97 percent of omega-3 fatty acids in the brain. While oily or fatty fish are good sources of DHA, unless a child’s diet is rich in oily fish, they will not be getting enough DHA,” said Dr. Nandita Iyer, a Bangalore-based nutritionist. “Supplements or foods fortified with algal or vegetarian DHA, derived from the algae the fish consume, can provide sufficient levels of DHA. This, combined with the healthy, active lifestyle highlighted in the life’sDHA ‘Be a Hero’ campaign, helps children build strong minds.”
Each event focuses on one of the four ways to support brain health and be a hero. Respected experts and nutritionists will explain how each element works together and why algal DHA in addition to other lifestyle behaviours are critical components of a child’s overall brain health:
1. MUMBAI: Heroes maintain physical fitness—Exercise and an active lifestyle, combined with eating the right foods, is important to a child’s overall health. India has a rich legacy of simple games that provide the exercise children need for a strong body and mind. Children have the opportunity to participate in a day of traditional Indian games like Kho Kho, Kabaddi, Seven Stones, Gilli Danda, Dodge Ball, Snakes and Ladder at Sacred Heart Boys School.
2. NEW DELHI: Heroes make healthy food choices—A nutritious diet plays a significant role in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and brain. Under the guidance of India’s first Master Chef winner, Chef Pankaj Bhadouria, children and their parents will learn how to make healthy meals using simple ingredients that can be found in their own refrigerator. Together, they will also create "New Delhi's Largest Vegetarian Sandwich." The event will be held on the Silver Oak Lawns at the India Habitat Centre.
3. BANGALORE: Heroes challenge their minds—Keeping the mind engaged by learning new things is important for a child’s brain health. Children will participate in science experiments and interactive games to help challenge their minds. The event will be held at the Hippocampus Learning Centre.
4. KOLKATA: Heroes create a beautiful world—Staying socially connected and making new friends keeps a child’s mind stimulated, improving connections in the brain. Children from all backgrounds will work together to create a mural at The Model School, a school for underprivileged children in Kolkata and under the direction of The Tomorrow Foundation. Local celebrity painter Wasim Kapoor will conceptualize the mural and help host the event.
A healthy mind leads to improved reading skills that are critical for a child’s success in overall academic performance. “Be a Hero” follows on the heels of a recent clinical study published by the researchers from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. Lead researchers who conducted the DHA Oxford Learning and Behavior (DOLAB) trial found that DHA supplementation appears to be an effective way to improve reading in healthy but underperforming children in mainstream schools.
Taking daily algal DHA supplements improved reading performance for the worst readers in the treatment group, allowing them to catch up with their peer group.
Through Be a Hero, parents and children learn about the importance of DHA and algal DHA specifically. Fatty fish such as tuna and salmon are the most commonly known sources of DHA, but it is the algae in their diet that make fish a rich source of DHA. life’sDHA produces a sustainable, vegetarian source of algal DHA in FDA-inspected facilities in the U.S. Today, life'sDHA is found in many mainstream products from some of the best-known food, beverage and supplement brands in India and around the world.