Nestlé Nigeria has called on pregnant as well as nursing mothers to feed on the adequate nutrient that is beneficial for them as the rate of malnutrition continues to affect the growth and development of the Nigerian child.
While speaking to journalist in Agbara area of Ogun state, at the Nestlé media workshop on ‘Good Nutrition a Way of Life’, 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 further explained that the importance of early nutrition and long-term health, nutrients were divided into the Macro and the Micro nutrients, adding that macro nutrients include; carbohydrates, protein, fat and oil while the micro nutrients are Vitamins and minerals.
The president of the nutrition association also added that balanced diet should be eaten by the mother in the right amount during the period of pregnancy. The nutrients needed during this time includes; Iron, Folic acid, Iodine, calcium, vitamin A, he further stressed that the foetus is solely dependent on the mother for proper nourishment.
Still speaking the nutritionist sai, “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.”
Speaking further on the health benefits of breastfeeding, Dr Bartholomew said; “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 also added that 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 constantly to babies.
He said 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 blames 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.