The Federal Government has been enjoined to urgently develop and implement a national protein-led nutrition policy to address the rising incidence of protein deficiency in the country.
A public health expert, Dr Adepeju Adeniran, made the call yesterday during an interview with Daily Trust.
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She said a national protein nutrition policy is important to target measured problems like household food security, child under-nutrition, maternal and child health, infectious disease prevention, amongst other national indicators.
“A nutritional policy could target the public’s access to information about a nutrition-related health condition. For example, the United States public-private collaboration campaign to influence the increase in public dairy consumption tagged, “got milk?”
“Nutrition policies have also targeted fortification of foods with minerals to increase the public’s consumption of such nutrients through eating foods rich in them. Many examples of these exist in global health.”
She said efforts to effectively tackle protein deficiency must include household food improvement, enhanced protein availability, protein affordability and multi-sectoral planning.
Adeniran, who is also the co-founder and national chairperson of the Nigerian chapter of Women in Global Health, urged the government to prioritise the availability and affordability of protein-rich foods in the country.
She stated that carbohydrates, proteins, healthy oils and minerals have their place in healthy diet compositions, but proteins were nearly always neglected.
She said that agricultural supply chains could be enhanced by import or export policies that prioritise protein-rich foods.
“To design and implement an effective nutritional protein policy, public awareness and education about the benefits of protein should not be limited to school education and theory only,” she added.