By Chinedu Adonu
Nutrition Society of Nigeria, NSN, has declared that Nigeria is bedevilled with double tragedy of high rising hunger and malnutrition occasioned by lack of adequate food intake.
The society also charged the Federal Government to urgently tackle insecurity In the country in order to ensure food security.
President of the society, Dr Wasiu Afolabi dropped the hint during the opening ceremony of a 5-day 51st annual general meeting and scientific conference of the society in Enugu with themed: “Promoting healthy diets through food systems transformation,” adding that globally there is an increase in hunger and malnutrition “which is mainly what the Conference would address”.
Afolabi said that Nigeria’s case is compounded by disease and malnutrition where people not only suffer malnutrition but over nourishment.
He said that the Conference was a scientific one done annually to offer nutritionists all over the country the opportunity to “interact, share experiences on research and programmes.”
“Globally, it was found out that the level of hunger and malnutrition is increasing, arising from so many drivers. We also have a situation in Nigeria where we have the double burden of disease and malnutrition.
” We have a large number of people that are malnourished and we also have a good number of people that are over nourished, ” he said.
According to the NSN boss, malnutrition in Nigeria is characterized by stunting, wasting and overweight among children under 5, pointing out that with adequate food system and balanced diet, Nigerians will experience a healthy living.
He further lamented: “We have a situation where we have malnutrition characterized by stunting, wasting and overweight among children under 5. We also have issues iron deficiency, Armenia among women as well as children.
“We also have a high rate of non-communicable diseases like diabetes and obesity among the adults. So, we have a mixed grill of overnutrition and undernutrition in the country and these are products of inadequate food intake and so people get malnourished and you have some people that are having an excessive intake of food that are not healthy which has resulted in a high level of non-communicable diseases which is another killer”.
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According to Afolabi, in Nigeria, the North seems to have a greater number of malnourished people but quickly pointed out that it is gradually becoming nationwide as a result of insecurity that has adversely affected food production in Nigeria.
clarifying further, he pointed out that “There is a high proportion of malnutrition in Nigeria. There is more in the Northern part of the country but because of insecurity, many people are now malnourished,” he said pointing out that the country should address the issue of insecurity seriously so that adequate food could be produced”.
He also itemised factors that could cause malnutrition to include using inorganic fertilizer to grow crops which he said could have an adverse effect on the health of the people because chemicals used in producing fertilisers could over time affect the health of the people.
The NSN boss however advised farmers to be cautious in applying inorganic fertilizer and rather ensure maximum use of organic fertilizer instead.