How to reduce anaemia in women, teenage girls, by nutritionists
Reputable nutritionists have urged Nigerian women and teenage girls to eat more healthy related diets to reduce iron deficiency anaemia even as they said that women of child bearing age and people with chronic diseases are at greater risk of developing the condition.
The nutritionists said this during the launch of Knorr Cubes Social Mission Symposium held in Lagos, last week, titled ‘The prevalence and impact of iron deficiency anaemia in Nigerian women and teenage girls,’ organised by Unilever Nigeria Plc.
The nutritionists, however, stated that educating teenage girls on iron deficiency anaemia would help to reduce increase in anaemia among women in Nigeria in future generations adding that women in the child bearing age are particularly susceptible to a form of anaemia called iron deficiency anaemia because of the blood loss from menstruation and the increased blood supply demanded during pregnancy.
President, Nutrition Society of Nigeria (NSN), Prof. Ngozi Nnam, said that vitamin and mineral deficiencies are among the largest public health challenges facing the country, she noted that Nigeria health system is already overburdened, so there is need to educate people on how they can prevent deficiencies through healthy diets. She said that Knorr cube has been repackaged in such away that it would help to drive behavioural change through introducing an intervention programme called “The Green Food Steps” focused on educating mothers and daughters on the importance of an iron rich diet through influencing their cooking habits.
Nnam said: “When you use Knorr cube to cook food it does not only make the food to has iron but to be more acceptable. We need to solve the issue of lack of iron in our women of childbearing age and educate teenage girls who would become mothers in future the dangers of iron deficiency anaemia and the way forward to reduce it. Our women need to eat proteins, eat a lot of vegetables and fruits. Healthy people are healthy nation. We can add Knorr cube in our white rice because it is fortified with iron”.
The Managing Director, Unilever Nigeria Plc, Yaw Nsarkoh, said that Unilever’s biggest brand Knorr unveiled its commitment to help reduce the prevalence of iron deficiency anaemia in Nigeria, a major public health issues, by making nutritious cooking more desirable, easy to understand and afford. This commitment forms part of Knorr’s social mission to improve the health and happiness of a billion people by unlocking more flavour and goodness from everyday food.
Nsarkoh narrated that with the majority of Nigerians not eating enough food high in iron; the new initiative will combine a behaviour change programme with the introduction of iron-fortified bouillon cubes. The Knorr social mission takes a holistic approach, not only fork championing cooking, but also improving livelihoods of the most affected groups fortune and helping smallholder farmers.
Nsarkoh said in 2014, Global Nutrition Report found that almost 49 per cent of women of reproductive age in Nigeria are anaemic, and according to a dietary diversity assessment done in six Nigerian States, the majority of Nigerians are not consuming enough foods that are high in iron. According to the assessment only 38 per cent eat fruits and vegetables, including leafy green vegetables on a daily basis and only 33 per cent consume meat daily.
Nsarkoh said: “Cooking habits are deeply rooted but we know that mothers pass recipes on to their daughters, so by educating them on the need for iron rich ingredients we can drive behavour change in the next generation. By incorporating leafy greens and the Knorr-fortified stock cubes into recipes, the programme would help mothers improve the nutritional value of everyday recipes”.
Nsarkoh continued: “In 1983, Carl Heinrich knorr moved to the German city of Heilbronn where he opened a factory and experimented with food drying techniques in order to preserve and guarantee quality flavour and freshness. Over times, Knorr has built on his legacy from the advent of the stock cube in 1910 to stock pots and bake in bags over the 21st century.