Good nutrition beneficial, achievable, UNICEF insists


The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) says good nutrition is beneficial to and achievable for all Nigerians.

Nutrition Officer of (UNICEF), Nkeriuka Enwelum, made the assertion, yesterday, in Enugu at a two-day dialogue on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as Child Rights, while presenting a paper on child malnutrition situation in Nigeria: An overview.

Enwelum said some benefits of good nutrition include an increase in school participation by one year and adult wages by between five to 50 percent, among others.

She said that the consequences of malnutrition include impaired brain development and lower Intelligence Quotient (IQ), low birth weight, weakened immune system leading to an increase in infectious diseases and premature death.

She added that about 45 percent of child deaths were linked to poor nutrition which mostly occurs in low and middle-income countries adding that malnutrition in children leads to wasting, stunting, underweight, while overweight was visible among adults.

Enwelum stressed that malnutrition should be avoided at all costs through provision and eating of all classes of foods, maintaining that failure to prevent and treat malnutrition could result in long-term cognitive and growth impacts and loss of income for households and up to 15 per cent loss in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for Nigeria.

Dr Chidi Ezinwa of the Department of Mass Communication, Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT), said Nigeria ranked 160th on the 2020 world SDGs index from 159th in 2019.

He said SDGs could not be realised without fulfilling the rights of children in SDG index from 159th in 2019 to 160th in 2020 adding: “The SDGs index above shows that many rights of children are yet to be fulfilled in Nigeria, hence Nigeria is far from realising the SDGs.”

He stressed that the SDGs included several rights of children to be fulfilled without which progress would not be made in achieving them.

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