From Femi Oyelola, Kaduna
The Youth Ambassador for Nigeria and Youth Leader for Nutrition with the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) and Civil Society Network ,(CSN) ,Maryam Ahmed, has said
Nutrition remains a key contributor to curbing infant and maternal mortality and morbidity,in the Country.
Her assertion was contained in a statement signed by her and made available to the media in kaduna yesterday.
She also explained that nutrition will resolve the problem of high cognitive development, decreased severity of diseases which adversely affects productivity in Nigeria.
The statement noted that the country’s current childhood under-nutrition indicator puts stunting at 37%, wasting at 7% and underweight at 23% (NDHS, 2018) with about 2.6 million children under the age of five threatened by malnutrition.
She stressed that in the 2020 global nutrition report, Nigeria has made some progress towards Maternal, Infant & Young Child Nutrition (MIYCN), particularly towards achieving the Exclusive Breastfeeding target with 28.7% of infants aged 0 to 5 months exclusively breastfed, but the report shows that the country has shown no progress towards achieving the target for obesity, with an estimated 13.1% women and 4.6% of men living with obesity.
Maryam Ahmed, added that Obesity is one form of malnutrition that mostly affects and impacts adolescents owing to poor and harmful dietary practices like over-consumption of high calorie “snacks” including fatty and greasy food (what is popularly called Junk food), sweet food, highly flavored food, etc.
“Let me break it down! What I’m saying is that a lot of efforts, strategies, policies and even plans have been put in place to reduce the rate of malnutrition but those aren’t enough.
“There are still many households in Nigeria where children and adolescents are not provided a “Nutrition-healthy and friendly” environment for adequate nutrition.
Nutrition She explained, has a profound impact on the present and future of young people. It
Prevents child deaths by more than one-third per year ,improves school attainment by at least one year, increases wages by 5-50% ,
Reduces poverty as well-nourished children are 33% more likely to escape poverty as adults, Empowers women to be 10% more likely to run their own business and breaks the inter-generational cycle of poverty.