The site of infants suffering from malnutrition in the countryside can be a heartrending experience.
The irony is the fact is that the parents don’t lack basic requirements to prevent this sad occurrence.
It’s the lack of basic knowledge on preparing a balanced diet for their infants.
Malnutrition is not limited to infants only. It sometimes does occur even among adults.
Malnutrition is a state of poor nutrition; it can result from insufficient or excessive or unbalanced diet or from inability to absorb foods in the body.
Many people think that good feeding depends on how much a person earns and the ability to buy lots of foods. This is a false mentality. If the basic balanced diet knowledge is absent, even seemingly well-off families might suffer a case or two of malnutrition.
To attain a balanced diet, does not mean frying all the foods. It’s about knowing which foods provide which nutrients and ensuring that a little of everything is there.
It is even more important for the children as they need a healthy foundation.
There is no way our society is going to develop when its future (children) are being underfed. Malnutrition weakens the children and can affect their concentration even in school.
Malnutrition may result from insufficient food intake or even repeated infectious diseases. It hinders children’s growth and development and, in girls, it might affect the children of those wishing to have some.
Food is the major concern of mankind beginning from the time of conception and extending through the entire life span of an individual. Food supplies the energy required for physical activity and other metabolic needs of the body.
Nutrients are for maintaining growth of the individual and for the repair of the worn out and ageing tissue. Basic constituents for synthesis of digestive juices, enzymes and hormones are derived from food.
This therefore calls for the need for eating well and having balanced diets because it is possible in our society today since we have all the required foods.
The effects of nutrition reflect on the development of an individual and the community and therefore have major socio-economic and political implication. Good nutrition is the corner stone of all human progress and one of the most fundamental tests of development.
According to UNICEF statistics, under nutrition contributes to the death of 5.6 million children under five in the developing world each year- the equivalent of 10 children a minute.
This report is fourth in UNICEF series which monitors progress for children towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), measures the world’s performance on nutrition, taking the prevalence of underweight among children under five years of age as its primary indicator.
Malnutrition contributes significantly to a cycle of poverty. It hurts children in their ability to learn. It hurts children in their ability to develop and it hurts children in their ability to resist serious diseases.
Malnutrition lowers the body’s ability to resist infection by undermining the functioning of the main immune-response mechanism. This leads to longer and severer episodes of illness.
Dieticians have isolated seven main categories of nutrients, each of them present in certain types of food and they are carbohydrates (sugar compounds), proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iodine, phosphorus, sodium, zinc, fibres and water. Only proteins, fats and carbohydrates provide us with the amount of energy our cells need in order to properly function, performing as cellular micro-engines.
Carbohydrates can be found in rice, bread and grain products, and also in some sweet fruit (bananas, pears, etc.); while the products with the highest level of fats (especially the fatty acids) are vegetables, seeds and marine oils.
Vegetables are also rich in fibres (which make possible the whole process of digestion), also contained in certain types of fruit and in whole grains.
Proteins are another highly important constituent of our body (contained in skin, hair and muscles) and only by consuming foods such as meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, dairy and soy products can we help the damaged cells by providing them with the compounds much needed.
All these foods we can afford to get them, but the problem with most people especially those in the country side is that when they harvest foods like eggs, milk, chicken and fruits, they think about selling them before making sure that their families have benefited.
A nationwide campaign on the basics and importance of a balanced diet should be carried out. A well fed people will be healthier and will most likely have a greater input to overall national development,.