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99.9 Percent of Sch’l Age Children In Ibadan Lack Adequate Quantity Of Nutrients – Survey

• Study Conducted In 5 Ib. LGAs • Urges Govt. To Extend School Feeding Programme To Cover More Children

Recent study by a team of researchers from the department of human nutrition and dietetics, University of Ibadan has shown that ninety nine point nine, 99.9% of children of school age in Ibadan, Oyo state capital lack needed calcium and other nutrients to grow.

A co-lead investigator in the survey, Dr. Oluwaseun Ariyo disclosed this while addressing participants on the recommendations and outcome of the survery during a one-day workshop tagged “Ibadan Kids Nutrition and health survey”, held at University of Ibadan.

Dr. Ariyo said the alarming percent of the children do not take adequate quantity of calcium and other nutrients that are required for their age, noting that the pupils are predisposed to poor health which reduces their learning capacity.

He hinted that the survey for the children’s dietary intake was carried out in five local governments within Ibadan metropolis, namely; Ibadan North, Northwest, Northeast, Southwest and Southeast.

He said the survey indicated that a number of pupils, though, take large quantity of foods, but were not nutritious, saying their animal meal, legumes and fruit intake in the dietary pattern was very low.

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He said “Seven percentage of the children suffer from overweight and obesity, more than 10 percent suffer undernutrition, indicating that malnutrition is still a big problem in the state, meaning, there’s an urgent need for government and other stakeholders to put in necessary interventions to address it.”

Dr. Ariyo suggested that soya beans, peanuts and vegetables which are sources of micronutrients should be included in children’s diet.

“These children are growing and we must know that we send these children to school, many of us pay huge amount as school fees, if these children are not properly fed, they will not get the best out of the school. So it means that all the investment we made on their schooling may not actually made the desired results, so we must pay attention to their meals.”

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He appealed to government to control the type of foods children have access to in their school environments, explaining that: “In many of the schools, they have access to sugary drinks, drinks that are not contributing to their nutrient intake, so we must ensure we promote development and consumption of healthy snacks in all our schools”

“We also identified that this problem of malnutrition is higher among older children than the younger pupils and these older children are the ones that are not presently benefitting from the school feeding programme.”

“So it is important that we extend the school feeding programme to cover more children, from primary four to six”

Earlier in an address, the principal investigator in the study, Professor Rasak Sanusi called for an holistic approach to end malnutrition among school age children

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Also speaking, provost, College of medicine, University of Ibadan, Professor Olayinka Omigbodun identified nutrition as a foundation for physically and mental health, expressing displeasure that many children still go to school without breakfast.

The professor of mental health who said a nation’s wealth depends on the mental health of the populace, challenged government to prioritize nutrition of school age children, saying their brain cells would not develop without good nutrition.

The event had in attendance some primary school pupils, scholars, representatives from Oyo state ministry of health and agriculture.

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