Health

Malnutrition: NGO tasks FG on healthy diet policies

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Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), an NGO, has urged the Federal Government to formulate, focus on policies and strategies that would encourage Nigerians on healthy diets to curb hunger and malnutrition.

Mr Michael Ojo, the Country Director of GAIN, made this appeal in Abuja on Wednesday at the EAT-Lancet Commission Report Launch on food, planet and health in the country.

The report was co-launched by GAIN with a theme “Planetary health diet for over 400 million people by 2050: What the EAT-Lancet commission report means for Nigeria”.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that EAT-Lancet commission is a bite-sized NGO playing a central role in putting food, health and sustainability on global agenda with an appetite for outsizes impact.

Ojo said that producing the mix of food was paramount for the Nigeria growing population projected to become the third largest in the world by 2050.

“Without completely depleting its natural resources, Nigeria needs to do things with its food production systems to make more nutritious food choices available in a sustainable way.

“This is because there has been increased global attention on addressing malnutrition using food systems approach which has the potential for far reaching impact especially for the most vulnerable.

“The food systems would determine the quality of people’s diet at the household level, shaping the demand, availability, affordability and desirability of safe and nutritious food.

“So the government needs to include and formulate policies and strategies to encourage people to choose healthy diets by boosting agricultural produce,” he said.

Ojo said that such policies, when formulated, would eradicate hunger and Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) and would also lead to sustainable and healthy food system in Nigeria.

According to him, the current Nigerian population consumes diets mostly filled with starchy vegetables.

He urged Nigerians across all spheres and levels of life to increase the amount of animal source foods consumed, like meat, poultry, eggs and fish.

He also advised farmers to focus on producing high volumes of crops that are varied and nutrient-rich.

Ojo pledged the organisation that would continue to work with multiple stakeholders including government, private sector, civil societies, local and international development partners and consumer groups to adapt planetary health diet.

Dr Adeyinka Onabolu, the Senior Adviser on Food Security and Nutrition, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, said the Nigeria agricultural sector on food security and nutrition strategy is prioritising and mainstreaming nutrition into the chains of agriculture in Nigeria.

She however clarified that the Nigerian government was currently not pushing Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) into the agricultural space.

“There have been efforts over time in using normal breeding techniques to improve agricultural productivity.

“Crops like orange and potatoes are manipulated crops but not genetically modified like most Nigerians are assuming,” she said.

Diana Omueza

Diana Omueza: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a media subscriber of the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.ng. Disclaimer.

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