Home Health Stakeholders advise parents on appropriate nutrition, lifestyle for children

Stakeholders advise parents on appropriate nutrition, lifestyle for children


LAGOOS – Some stakeholders in health sector on Saturday advised parents to give appropriate nutrition and lifestyle choices to their children to enable them achieve their full potential.

They made this call at the maiden edition of “Healthy Kids Parent-Child Nutrition Workshop” organised in Lagos by Nestle Nigeria.

Mr Dharnesh Gordhon, the Managing Director of Nestle,  said that the programme was organised to address some challenges on nutrition and health.

Gordhon, who was represented by Dr Samuel Adenekan, Nestle Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Manager, said that having the right knowledge was essential.

“This Global Nestle Healthy kids program is borne out of the need to address complex issues plaguing the society globally, that of under-nutrition and obesity.

“It has become very necessary to improve the nutrition, health and wellness of school age children through improved diets, physical activity and hygiene.

“Regular physical activity and healthy eating habits help children achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, which will enable them to become healthy adults.

“Education is therefore a powerful tool to ensure that children understand the value of nutrition and physical activity to their health throughout the course of their lives,” he said.

According to Gordhon, driving the success of nutrition education will be achieved through partnership, behavioural-focused nutrition education and engagement of parent and child in nutrition.

“The primary goal of nutrition education is to help children adopt eating behaviours that will promote health and reduce diseases.

“Behaviourial nutrition education encourages specific healthy eating behaviours such as eating less fat and sodium and eating of more fruits and vegetables.

“Parents and caregivers should be aware of the importance of nutritious food, especially at the early stage of chilren development,” he said.

Mrs Florence Uchendu of School of Health Sciences, National Open University of Nigeria, said that a balanced meal constituted of six food classes of nutrient.

“Everybody needs a balanced diet, especially children.

“A balanced diet has six food classes of nutrients which are water, carbohydrates, protein, fats and oil, vitamins and minerals.

“These can be got from eating the appropriate combination of some of our local foods,” she said.

According to Uchendu, effects of poor feeding in children include sickness, malnutition, low intelligence, poor academic perfomance, low resistance to diseases and sicknesses, stunted growth and others.

“Use affordable local food staples, fruits and vegetables. We have crayfish, periwinkles, soya beans, moin-moin, fishes, pap, ugba and a whole lot of others.

“Avoid consumption of processed foods,” Uchendu said.

She urged Nigerians to avoid poor cooking habits such as using unclean water to cook, cutting vegetables in the market before washing for use and cooking vegetables for too long.

Dr Bartholomew Brai, the representative of the President of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria, said that our society and diet had become westernised.

“Our environment has changed a lot. It has become highly westernised and we need to encourage our younger ones to appreciate our local delicacies.

“The right combination of our foods makes a nutritious meal.

“Parents should avoid using fast foods and carbonated drinks to give their children as meals or snacks,” he said.

Brai, a researcher at the Nigerian Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) and Vice President South, NSN, advised parents to put good feeding habits to practice.

He said that well fed children would have stronger immunity and make up a healthy nation. (NAN)

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