The Nutrition Society of Nigeria (NSN) has called on governments at all levels to address the nutrition needs of adolescents in the country as a means of correcting poor nutritional practices and reversing the growth faltering experienced during childhood.
The Society noted that despite constituting about 21 per cent, less than 41 million, of the population, Nigerian adolescents remain a largely neglected, difficult-to-measure and hard-to-reach population that has not been prioritised for nutrition intervention.
In a statement, yesterday, President of NSN, Prof. Wasiu Afolabi, said inadequate policy and lack of strategic direction to properly address the nutrition needs of adolescents has compounded the hydra-headed challenge of poor nutrition among adolescents in Nigeria.
“Most of the policy documents contain fragment of nutrition interventions for the adolescent. Thus, we do not have a policy that accurately situates adolescent nutrition as a key issue of top priority to us. Moreover, most of the nutrition programmes are being implemented in an uncoordinated manner.
“In view of the foregoing, our call is an important step towards supporting their physical growth and preventing future health problems, and breaking the vicious cycle of intergenerational malnutrition, chronic diseases and poverty.
“Furthermore, NSN calls for urgent actions by government, development partners, private sectors and other stakeholders to bridge the identified policy and data gaps, enhance coordination and increase delivery platforms to reach adolescents with a minimum package of nutrition interventions.”