COVID-19: Nigerians must guard against poor nutrition status  – NSN

COVID-19: Nigerians must guard against poor nutrition status – NSN

  • Laments neglect of nutrition as part of measures to fight pandemic

  • Mrs Eluaka

The Nutrition Society of Nigeria, NSN, has urged Nigerians to guard against what they eat irrespective of their financial status in order to fight against COVID-19.

The group who noted that there is a strong link between poor nutrition and getting infected with viruses like Covid-19 advised that people can eat an adequate diet without huge financial burden.

Speaking during an online training it organized for journalists Tuesday tagged: ‘A National Covid-19 Nutrition Communication Campaign,’ an expert in nutrition, Mrs. Beatrice Eluaka, said when someone does not take the right kind of food it gives room for organisms like viruses to thrive in the body.

Eluaka, a fellow of NSN said under-nutrition, malnutrition and over-nutrition, affect immunity by lowering the immune system.

She explained: “When the immune system is not responding the way it should, there is a risk at one catching diseases. And when you are infected, there will be loss of appetite and a lowered absorption nutrient. If you manage to take in the food and the energy that is needed to fight the disease is no longer there, you will require an increased energy otherwise, it will result in under-nutrition.

“An infection can occur when something that is not supposed to be in your body enters your body and we are talking about such organisms like viruses, bacteria, fungi and all kinds of parasites. On the other hand, when an individual is malnourished that person is again predisposed to being infected,” she said.

Eluaka added that taking an adequate meal does not require one to break a bank going by the restrictions posed by the current pandemic.

She said: “We don’t need to be rich to eat the right kinds of food. You can always provide the right kind of food within your income. Like, if one cannot afford meat, there are other sources of protein like groundnut, fresh fish, beans and others.

“Before now, we talk about balanced diet, but these days we are not talking about balance but adequate and the reason we are not talking about balance is that it is difficult for an ordinary man to know what a balanced diet is.

“There is no one single food that provides all the nutrients that the body requires to maintain good health. An adequate diet is that diet that contains a variety of food. In other words, you have your starch, fat, oil, meat or fish, fruits and vegetables in one meal.

 “For us, we can say scientifically, 10 percent of your meals must come from fat, 30 percent from protein, and 50 percent from carbohydrate. But an ordinary man on the street will not understand that. So we talk about adequate and what makes it adequate is that we combine a variety of food into a diet,” Eluaka explained.

Also, Executive Director of the Development Communication Network, Devcoms, Akin Jimoh, said due to the problems posed by Covid-19, thereby making people to be careless about food quality, there’s need to adopt the right kind of food in order to build immunity.

In the same vein, a behaviour change expert, Auwalu Kawu, called on the media and governments at all levels to change the habit of laying less emphasis on nutrition.

He said: “Nutrition has not been given visibility it deserves especially in this Covid-19 era. 

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