By Chioma Umeha
As part of efforts to continue meeting the needs of Nigerian child and mothers Nestlé Nigeria has urged pregnant breastfeeding mothers to feed on adequate nutrient that are beneficial.
Addressing journalists at the Nestlé media workshop on ‘Good Nutrition a Way of Life’, held at Agbara, Ogun State, the President, Nutrition Society of Nigeria, Dr. Bartholomew Brai, defined nutrition as the science of interpretation and interaction of the food consumed and its function in the living organism.
Brai said the importance of early nutrition and long term health, nutrients were divided into the macro and Micro nutrients, adding that macro nutrients includes; carbohydrates, protein, fat and oil while the micro nutrients are Vitamins and minerals.
He also added that balanced diet should be eaten by the mother in the right amount during pregnancy which the nutrient includes; Iron, folic acid, Iodine, calcium, vitamin A, stressing that the foetus is solely dependent on the mother for nourishment.
According to him, the normal weight prior to pregnancy and healthy weight gain during pregnancy should be encouraged, saying that it is essential to note that from birth to six months, exclusive breast feeding is required without adding any other solid or liquid.
Listing the health benefits of breastfeeding, Bartholomew said: “It supplies essential nutrients needed for baby’s cognitive development. It slows infant weight gain and lowers risk of obesity.
“It reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes. Breast feeding prevents half of deaths caused by infections in children aged six to 23 months. It makes the baby more active. It prevents diarrhoea, excessive weight gain in childhood after the age of two years.
He said the first 1000 days includes pregnancy which is 270 days, first year 365 days, second year, 365 days which sums it to 1000 days. From the foetus to infant two years, adding that from six to 23 months for infants, appropriate complimentary feeding plus breast milk should be given to babies.
Complimentary feeding should be timely and frequent, adequate with high quality and quantity, safe which is of good hygiene, then gradual introduction to family foods.
He lamented that issues undermining nutrition in the first 1000 days are linked to poor access to adolescent health services, poor parenting and life skills for early child development, early marriage before 18 years.
The company seized the opportunity to present to the media its contribution to consumers’ nutrition, health and wellness such as cooking classes for kids, nutrition education programmes for women and offering tastier and healthier products which are fortified with micronutrients.
In Nigeria, Nestlé sells daily over 100 million Maggi cubes fortified in iron reaching over 18 million households.
Nestlé Healthy Kids programme has reached over 62,000 pupils in 112 schools across four Nigerian States and through the Nestlé Nutrition Institute Africa.
Similarly, health care professionals have been empowered with nutrition information through various nutrition programmes organised by the institute.