A Consultant Nutritionist, Dr Mashudat Adams, has urged the Federal Government to address the state of the nation’s economy to reduce factors contributing to malnutrition and hunger among children.
Adams, who works with LivingSpring Hospital, a Lagos-based medical facility, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria recently.
While identifying poverty and unemployment as major causes of child malnutrition in the country, she expressed displeasure that malnutrition had become a major crisis in many homes.
She said the state of the nation’s economy was taking its toll on access to nutritious foods by mothers and children.
According to her, only parents with good income can keep a well-fed and healthy child. Many homes are suffering; they are finding it difficult to eat three-square meals per day.
“Many are jobless, while some, who have something doing are underemployed, thus making it difficult to provide for the children, particularly in this period of economic hardship.
“The poverty rate in the country has increased the risk of malnutrition. People are hungry; there is limited access to food and as a result, little care is given to children.
“Eradicating poverty is key to ending malnutrition in all its forms. At the same time, eradicating malnutrition is key to economic development, as a well-nourished population is a healthier and more productive population,” Adams said.
According to her, malnutrition not only slows down child’s development but also results in death, calling, therefore, for adequate measures to reduce it to the barest minimum.
The nutritionist, however, explained that aside from poverty, most parents and caregivers did not have adequate information on proper food combinations with required nutrients for their children.
She described adequate access to nutritional information as the gateway to healthy diets that could boost the immunity against contraction of infectious diseases like the raging COVID-19 pandemic.
“Apart from the issue of poverty, some parents and caregivers do not know how to combine foods that will give the required nutrients to their children.
“There is no information that is as critical as the type of information that can enable us live physically, mentally and emotionally healthy.
“I urge governments at all levels to design awareness programmes where parents will be educated on how to make good nutrition available for their children.
“I believe that if this is done, it will go a long way to reduce malnutrition in the country,” Adams