Written by Ijeoma UKAZU

Mothers nutrition key in malnutrition fight ľ NestlÚ

As the rate of malnutrition continues to affect the growth and development of the Nigerian child, Nestlé Nigeria has called on pregnant as well as nursing mothers to feed on adequate nutrient that are beneficial.

Speaking to journalists at the Nestlé media workshop on 'Good Nutrition a Way of Life', held at Agbara, Ogun State,the President of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria, Dr. Bartholomew Brai, defined nutrition as the science of interpretation and interaction of the food consumed and its function in the living organism.

He said the importance of early nutrition and long term health, nutrients were divided into the macro and the Micro nutrients, adding that macro nutrients includes; carbohydrates, protein, fat and oil while the micro nutrients are Vitamins and minerals.

The nutrition president added that balanced diet should be eaten by the mother in the right amount during pregnancy which the nutrient includes; Iron, folic acid, Iodine, calcium, vitamin A, stressing that the foetus is solely dependent on the mother for nourishment.    

The nutritionist said "normal weight prior to pregnancy and healthy weight gain during pregnancy should be encouraged, saying that it is essential to note that from birth to six months, exclusive breast feeding is required without adding any other solid or liquid.” 

Stating the health benefits of breastfeeding, Bartholomew said it includes; "It supplies essential nutrients needed for baby's cognitive development. It slows infant weight gain and lowers risk of obesity.

"Reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes. Breast feeding prevents half of deaths caused by infections in children aged six to 23 months. It makes the baby more active. It prevents diarrhoea, excessive weight gain in childhood after the age of two years.”                 

He said the first 1, 000 days includes, pregnancy which is 270 days, first year 365 days, second year, 365 days which sums it to 1000 days. From the foetus to infant two years, adding that from six to 23 months for infants, appropriate complimentary feeding plus breast milk should be given to babies.

Complimentary feeding should be timely and frequent, adequate with high quality and quantity, safe which is of good hygiene, then gradual introduction to family foods.    

He lamented that Issues undermining nutrition in the first 1000 days are linked to poor access to adolescent health services, poor parenting and life skills for early child development, early marriage before 18yrs.   

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