The Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr. Oluranti Adebule has advocated for nutrition education in schools to help fight the prevalence of malnutrition in underage children.
This she said is crucial in developing a better society.
“Studies have revealed that malnutrition is prevalent among the under five years children in Nigeria and this has a direct link to the level of poverty in many homes. The future of our nation is dependent on the children we raise today. We need to ensure our children receive the right nutrition and education to secure the socio-economic and political well-being of our nation,” she said during the media launch of the Peak 456 Drink Move Be Strong (DMBS) pre-school programme.
The programme was piloted last year by Nigeria’s leading dairy company, FrieslandCampina WAMCO in partnership with the Nutrition Society of Nigeria (NSN) to promote healthy eating and exercise among children in Lagos aged four to six years old. The results of the pilot were positive lifestyle changes in nutrition and exercise among teachers, pupils and parents.
The partnership is in line with the FrieslandCampina WAMCO global project tagged ‘Drink, Move Be Strong’ school programme that will engage and educate school children on healthy eating and active living.
Speaking further, the deputy governor who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Office of the Deputy Governor, Lagos State, Yetunde Odejayi, emphasised on the importance of ensuring that children imbibe healthy eating habits from an early age for a positive impact on their well-being. She also pointed out that the state is also playing a vital role in eliminating this malaise through its Maternal, New Born and Child Health Strategy that guarantees routine immunisation, Vitamin A supplementation, as well as malnutrition screening for all underage children, including distribution of insecticides net to pregnant women.
Lauding Peak 456 Growing Up Milk and the Nutrition Society of Nigeria (NSN) for their continued effort in promoting healthy eating and active lifestylehabits in children and communities across the country, she expressed optimism that their intervention will help in curtailing the mortality rate of infants and under five children in the state.
“Your intervention through this programme is a welcome development that will help many homes, families and children have access to the nutritional values and requirements for proper healthy living.”
Also speaking at the event, the Corporate Affairs Director, FrieslandCampina WAMCO, Ore Famurewa, pointed out that “Schools play an important role in teaching children the importance of adequate nutrition and developing good eating habits. An early start of making healthy choices as children, will make it easier for them to keep up these habits as adults.”
Specialised Nutrition Director, Zatur Hassim, further stressed the role of schools in the development of healthy children. “Children at the age of four to six years are influenced by teachers almost every day during the school term. Teachers need to be equipped with the right knowledge and tools to educate their pupils on healthy eating and active lifestyle. The aim of setting up teachers’ workshop by FrieslandCampina WAMCO in partnership with Nutrition Society of Nigeria is to empower pre-school teachers with the right knowledge on child nutrition.”
This year, in Nigeria, the initiative has scaled up to include seven more locations namely Ogun, Ibadan, Benin, Enugu, Abuja, Kaduna and Kano, as well as Lagos.
Also present at the event was Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Lagos State, Mrs. Adebunmi Adekanye as well as the national president of NSN, Bartholomew Brai.