The Nutrition Specialist, United Nations Children’s Fund, Mrs. Ada Ezeogu, has said that more Nigerian children may grow up to become adults with low mental capacity because of malnutrition.
Ezeogu stated this on the sidelines of a media dialogue on how to stop child malnutrition in the country.
Quoting a National Health Demographic Survey, Ezeogu also said that the number of stunted children occasioned by inadequate diet and micronutrients deficiency was high even in some states in the South-West.
Such children, she said, might grow up to become adults with low mental capacity if nothing was done to arrest the situation.
According to her, unpaid salaries and hike in prices of foodstuff are also contributing to the malnutrition problem facing Nigerian children.
She said this was the reason UNICEF was promoting exclusive breast-feeding for six months.
Exclusively breastfed babies, she added, had lower chances of developing chronic health conditions such as diabetes, asthma and childhood leukaemia in the future.
She said, “Breastfed infants do better in intelligence and behaviour test than formula fed babies. There are many Nigerian children with stunted growth and this affects their mental capacity even when they become adults.
“Every child should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months. Breast feeding lowers the risk of chronic conditions, such as obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, child-hood asthma and leukaemia.”
Ezeogu explained that breast feeding babies for the first six months would boost their mental capacity as well as make them to become adults with great intellect.
She also warned mothers against mixing breast feeding with infant formula, saying this was dangerous to babies.
Ezeogu, who said that 50 per cent of infant deaths in the country were caused by malnutrition, added that this could be reduced drastically with adequate nutrition.