Posted: Friday 12th April 2013 at 1:53 am

Education on good food choice- solution to child nutrition challenges

By Morenike Taire and Funmi Ajumobi

Lack of access to information and pervasive ignorance about the right choice of nourishment has been identified as the major factors militating against proper nutrition in children in Nigeria.

This was suggested during the Roundtable Conference on child nutrition held at the Vanguard headquarters in Lagos today.

Roundtable conference on Child Nutrition held at Vanguard Head office, Lagos on Thursday. Pix from left Mrs Umego Adaora, Consumer Protection Council; Ms Flora Archibong; Mrs Ogochukwu Mainasara representing DG NAFDAC; Mrs Iquo Ukoh, Marketing services Director, Nestle Foods; Mrs Funmi Ajumobi, Kiddies Editor, Vamnguard; Dr Chika Ndiokwelu, Natioanl President, Dieticians Association of Nigeria; Mrs Morenike Taire, Vanguard; Mrs Adu Morenikeji, Consumer Advocacy Agency of Nigeria; Mr Anyanwu Camillus, CPC;; Mrs Margaret Eshiett, Head Food/Codex, Standard Organisation of Nigeria SON and Alero Atsimene, Vanguard at the conference Photo by Lamidi Bamidele

Roundtable conference on Child Nutrition held at Vanguard Head office, Lagos on Thursday. Pix fromMrs Iquo Ukoh, Marketing services Director, Nestle Foods; Mrs Funmi Ajumobi, Kiddies Editor, Vamnguard; Dr Chika Ndiokwelu, Natioanl President, Dieticians Association of Nigeria; Mrs Morenike Taire, Vanguard; Mrs Adu Morenikeji, Consumer Advocacy Agency of Nigeria; Mr Anyanwu Camillus, CPC;; Mrs Margaret Eshiett, Head Food/Codex, Standard Organisation of Nigeria SON and Alero Atsimene, Vanguard at the conference Photo by Lamidi Bamidele

Participants at the conference included regulators and policy makers on child nutrition in Nigeria.

Mrs Iquo Ukoh the Marketing Service Director of Nestle Nigeria emphasized on the importance of a synergy between the Federal Ministries of health and Education to inculcate food and nutrition in the primary school curriculum so as to build children’s taste in the right choice of food at their tender age.

She cited the one-meal-a-day policy which has not been implemented in most states due to various factors which include unavailability of government funds and corruption.

She suggested the formation of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) rather than waiting for government to do everything.

Ogochukwu Mainasara, Acting Director of the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration And Control (NAFDAC) who represented the Director General of the Agency said that the Agency has commenced discussions with stakeholders on food labeling as one of its regulatory efforts to stop manufacturers from deceiving the public on the consumables nutritional values. She cited the universal salt iodization and fortification projects of staples such as flour in order to reduce nutritional deficiencies and learning disabilities as part of the projects of the Agency.

Dr Chika Ndiokwelu, National President, Dietitian Society of Nigeria also emphasized on the need for parents to increase the amount of healthy food that are starched based food instead of processed carbohydrate and she advised parents to increase the amount of vegetables and fruits given to their children.

Also in attendance, Margaret Eshiett of the Standard Organization of Nigeria, representing the Director General of the organization, said that all standards have been harmonized to international standards and this includes food for children while taking into consideration local contents.

Roundtable conference on Child Nutrition held at Vanguard Head office, Lagos on Thursday. Pix from left Mrs Umego Adaora, Ms Flora Archibong; Mrs Ogochukwu Mainasara representing DG NAFDAC; Mrs Iquo Ukoh, Marketing services Director, Nestle Foods; Mrs Funmi Ajumobi, Kiddies Editor, Vamnguard and Dr Chika Ndiokwelu

Roundtable conference on Child Nutrition held at Vanguard Head office, Lagos on Thursday. Pix from left Mrs Umego Adaora, Ms Flora Archibong; Mrs Ogochukwu Mainasara representing DG NAFDAC; Mrs Iquo Ukoh, Marketing services Director, Nestle Foods; Mrs Funmi Ajumobi, Kiddies Editor, Vamnguard and Dr Chika Ndiokwelu

Other participants were Mrs Umego Adaora and Mr Anyanwu Camillus  scientific Officer and Surveillance and Enforcement officers from Consumer Protection Council, Mrs Adu Morenikeji  from Consumer Advocacy Foundation of Nigeria and Ms Flora Archibong.

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