The National Institute of Food Science and Technology (NIFST) on Monday urged the Federal Government to revisit the National Nutrition Policy, especially malnutrition and micro nutrient fortification.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the appeal is contained in a statement by Dr Chijioke Osuji, NIFST National President, in Lagos.
”One of the numerous health challenges Nigeria is facing is malnutrition. It is a major challenge because the worst affected segments of the society are the young ones.
”We need to revisit the national nutrition policy with a view to ensuring that we can give the policy as much life as possible.
”Any nutrition policy can only make desired impact when they are applied to food products,” he said.
He described as surprising and worrisome that the challenge occurred mostly in the states hit by security problems.
He said some states record more than 50 per cent stunting rate among children from five years and below, while other states recorded about 15 per cent stunted growth rate.
The NIFST boss also stressed the need to fight childhood malnutrition, adding that children’s growth and performance in life depended largely on their nutrition level.
Osuji said that the current malnutrition profile, if left unchecked in some states, would lead to high loss of human capital in future.
He urged members of the society to use their influence, network and strategic positions along the food supply chain to ensure compliance in the national policy on nutrition.
”Since NIFST is the largest repository of the knowledge of African foods, we must see this as nothing but a national call to service to save the future generation,” Osuji said.
He cited the locally produced vegetable oil, stressing that imported packaged oils lacked the fortification required by law.
Osuji sought the spread of protein enrichment and micro nutrient fortification message throughout the country, especially in the worst security challenged areas.
The National Policy on Food and Nutrition, launched in 2002, focused on improved health condition of most Nigerians vulnerable in the society, especially women and children.
It is also expected to reduce poverty by 10 per cent by 2010 and reduce starvation and chronic hunger through increased food intake. (NAN)