The United Nations Children’s Fund, (UNICEF) said adequate investment in nutrition will save no fewer than 33 per cent of Nigerian children from poverty in adulthood.
This is one of the highlights of a two-day Media Dialogue with Journalists/Interface With On Air Personalities (OAPs) On Child Malnutrition In The Northeast, orgnised by UNICEF in collaboration with Child Rights Information Bureau (CRIB) of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, held in Yola, Adamawa State from December 5 – 8.
In his presentation tagged ‘Child Malnutrition and the Emergency in North Eastern Nigeria,’ UNICEF Nutrition Consultant, Dr. Bamidele Omotola explained that for every dollar invested in reducing stunting among children, there was a return of investment of $16 dollars.
Stunting is the impaired growth and development that children experience from poor nutrition, repeated infection, and inadequate psychosocial stimulation. Children are defined as stunted if their height-for-age is more than two standard deviations below the World Health Organisation (WHO) Child Growth Standards median.
Although, child malnutrition is present in all geo-political zones across the nation, available data show that one in five children are stunted in the South, in the northeast and northwest, over one in twochildren are stunted. Stunting and wasting, which are linked with malnutrition are wide spread in children in the northeast.
However, Omotola explained that adequate investment would also prevent nearly half of child mortality, boost the economy by 50 per cent and increase school attainment by at least one year.
He further disclosed that currently, wasting affects 25 million children under five years in Nigeria while a total of 10 million are stunted.
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