The Ondo State Ministry of Information and Orientation has scheduled a one-day workshop for its information officers as part of its efforts to provide health and nutritional information to a broad audience.

The state government supported the programme, which had as its main topic “the role of media in food and nutrition communication.”

In her speech to the participants, Chief (Mrs.) Bamidele Ademola-Olateju, the State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, bemoaned people’s ignorance of their daily food intake and inactivity.

As far as she is concerned, regular exercise and awareness of what one eats should be considered important components in achieving improved health.

She mentioned expressly that many kids and women experienced malnutrition for lack of fruits that were affordable for consumption.

The Commissioner, who was represented by the Administrative Secretary of the Ministry, Mrs.Toyin Onisile, charged the participants as the fourth estate of the realm to educate the public on the need to balance a diet with enough drinking water.

She also stressed the importance of taking warm water early in the morning before breakfast.

“Skipping breakfast is not ideal. Statistics show that breakfast is the most important aspect of nutrition or dieting.

She further enjoined the information officers and other media professionals to engage in ethical and fact-based reporting. She added, “As you end the programme and return to your respective media houses, I urge participants to use the knowledge gained and the connections forged to elevate the standard of reporting on nutrition, health, and environmental issues in Nigeria. Together, let us strive to create a more informed and enlightened society that embraces sustainable practices, values, and well-being and champion the cause for a healthier planet.”

Earlier in his goodwill message, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget, and Chairman of the State Committee on Food and Nutrition, Mr. Bayo Phillip, said the workshop was timely considering the various nutritional challenges that were currently facing the state and country at large.

Represented by the Deputy Director, Technical Assistant and Aids Coordination (TAAC) of the Ministry, Mr. Adewale Adeboyejo, explained that the importance of adequate and proper nutrition in any society could not be overemphasized.

Phillip appreciated the state government for being proactive on the issue of nutrition in the state, as it approved six months of paid maternity leave for pregnant mothers as well as two weeks of paternity leave for fathers.
He pointed out that the recent surveys showed that malnutrition in children resulted in underweight, stunting, and wasting, whilst making adults prone to all forms of sickness and diseases.
According to him, “about 45 percent of deaths in children under the age of five years in Nigeria were malnutrition-related, and the prevalence of malnutrition in Ondo State according to the 2021 Multiple Indicators Cluster Survey (MIC 6) reveals that about 13.4 percent of children under five years were underweight, 24 percent were stunted, and 6.6 percent were wasted.

“It is a known fact in nutrition parlance that the first 1000 days of life, or roughly between conception and a child’s second birthday, is the most critical period in the life of a newborn. This is because the brain of a child grows and develops throughout this period, and the foundation of their long-term health is set.”

He said the reason many children and adults are malnourished is because of lack of information.

Taking the participants through the technical session, the resource person, Mrs. Lucy Akinkuotu, said individuals suffer undernutrition if their diet does not provide adequate quantity and quality of food.

Another resource person, Mrs. Kehinde Ayanlowo, explained that fruits and vegetables constitute a very vital part of an adequate diet required by human beings to maintain the structure of tissues in the body, especially for growing children and women.

The Director of Planning, Research, and Statistics, Mrs. Jumoke Akadiri, expressed her appreciation to the Commissioner, speakers, and facilitators who had generously shared their expertise and experiences at the training.

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