December 10, 2023


Remi Adeleke

“We all eat, but it is sad tale of opportunity to eat badly”- Anna Thomas

“You don’t need silver fork to eat good food” Paul Prudhomme

Nutrition is the process of providing or obtaining the food necessary for growth and health. The quality and quantity of food consumed at a particular point in time to a larger extent determines the status of growth and health of individuals. Nutrition is a concern from embryonic stage in the womb to old age. This typifies the fact that the diseases suffered by individuals could be controlled or checked if we are meticulous enough about the quantity and quality of food we eat and the time we eat them.

The growth of a child is the function of the quality and quantity of the food the child takes in. This  to a larger extent   determines the disease suffered by the child. A malnourished child is susceptible to suffering from varied diseases. The place of appropriate nutrition in the growth of a child can therefore not be overemphasized.

Worthy of note is the fact that  appropriate nutrition for the growth an health of children  is more economical and effective than spending scarce resources for drugs and treatment when they suffered any of the childhood diseases often caused by malnutrition.

The place of appropriate nutrition in the health of an adult as related to the food he or she eats is a topical issue. Some health researchers have posited that we are what we eat.  That is, the status of our health is to a larger extent the reflection of what we eat – the quality of the food, quantity, the time, the type ie ( organic or inorganic).

Recent studies have also revealed the relationship between nutrition and productivity. An adult that is not well nourished or does not eat healthy food is likely to suffer any of the non-communicable diseases and becomes ill. The attendant effect of this, is that his productivity would wane leading to low return on investment and the economy on the long run would be affected. What this means is that appropriate nutrition could improve productivity and return on investment if we prioritize and promote healthy lifestyle and appropriate nutrition.

In contemporary times, the increasing rate of Nigerians coming down with hypertension, diabetics, kidney diseases and Cancer leaves much to be desired. About 20 or 30 years before now, cases of hypertension, diabetics and kidney diseases were not as rampant. This piece however recognizes the slant that there was poor  public awareness in the past as a result people were not checking the numbers  and technology not as advanced as we have presently.

Sadly, the desired attention this sudden surge in these diseases deserved is not being accorded it by the authority. Year in, year out, these diseases are claiming many lives. It is common knowledge that lifestyle as regards feeding on junks loaded with salt and sugar are to a larger extent responsible for these diseases. ( “To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art-francois de-La) There is also this popular maxim-Let your food be your medicine and your medicine your food.

It is against this backdrop, this piece is proposing that as a preventive approach, an extensive advocacy program by way of visits and sensitization to major,  if not all hospitality industries by personnel from the statutory health institutions like  the  Federal Ministry of Health or NPHCDA to review their various menu list by replacing or alternating junk foods like the Meat pies, samosa fish roll, spring rolls they normally serve as brake fast with organic foods like OPA, KOSE/MOIMOI ie bean cake with oat meal or MASA.

A comparative analysis of the feeding pattern in historical and contemporary times shows that we eat more chemical loaded foods now than organic foods.  These food that are sugar, salt and chemical loaded predispose people to these non-communicable diseases.

 Most Nigerian farmers are predominantly illiterates. They engage in the wrong usage or application of pesticides on Agricultural produce with little or no guidance. It is not unlikely that these chemicals find their way into the foods are  responsible for the surge in the Kidney diseases, BP, Cancer, and diabetics. 

Year in, year out, Nigerian Universities churn out thousands of Agric economists and Agric extension graduates that are unemployed.  The ones employed seem to be shirking from their responsibility. The are Federal and States Ministries of Agriculture that should have extension workers that ought to guide these rural farmers on the application of pesticides. The Federal and States Governments should charge and sensitize the Agric extension workers to step up their games and live up to their responsibilities.

A healthy nation is a wealthy nation.

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