Estimated 13 per cent of Nigerian children risk growing up with mental deformity unless proper iodine is part of their nutrition, reports NaijaAgroNet.
Professor emeritus, Babatunde Oguntona, who gave this indication in Lagos at a one-day Nutrition Symposium on ‘Malnutrition, Child Development and the Media’ organised by the Media Centre Against Child Malnutrition (MeCAM).
He also called on government to pay greater attention to public health.
“If we don't keep iodine level properly, we'll have 13% of Nigerian children mentally deformed,” Prof. Oguntona said.
Lamenting the situation, Prof. Oguntona imagineed that about 13 percent of parliamentarians are mentally deformed and wondered the kind of policies and legislation.
"Inadequate iodine in our food is a serious threat. You can't talk of development when you ignore the issue of nutrition status of your people,” he declared, rapping the Nigerian authorities for their poor response to the threats of malnutrition.
Oguntona, a former president of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria, said between 13 and 18 Nigerian children die of malnutrition and related diseases every hour and called on the media to step up advocacy on the issue.
Ivy Ibiso KingHarry, an associate at the Scaling Up Nutrition Business Network | Global Alliance on Improved Nutrition (GAIN), said the media have a duty to promote messages on nutrition as influencers and change agents.
She added however that such media efforts must flow from proper understanding of the science of nutrition and effective delivery of messages in language understood by common people.
She urged reporters to always fact-check and scrutinize official data on malnutrition, be consistent and build trust in their duty as gatekeepers.
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