Latest data released by UNICEF has indicated that about 1.7 million Nigerian children under the age of five are severely and acutely malnourished, accounting for 10 per cent of the global total of malnourished children.
With prices of foods skyrocketing, more hard times await Nigerian children as statistics available have shown that two out of every five Nigerian children are chronically malnourished.
According to 2011 World Global Hunger Index, Nigeria contributes 58 per cent in the global hunger problem. Unfortunately, little or nothing is being done to reverse the trend. With recent news about population explosion, 30 per cent of African countries will double and Nigeria may be hitting about 400 million.
This and other revelations emerged this week when Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) gathered to celebrate world egg day with the theme, “Benefits of an egg a day for the Nigerian child.”
Reacting to this ugly situation, the president of the association, Dr. Ayoola Oduntan, expressed fears that if urgent steps were not taking, it may have a huge negative impact on the nutritional health of vulnerable population (pregnant women and children).
He noted that world egg day which was globally celebrated every second Friday in October aimed to highlight some of the simple steps that can help to address some of these challenges.
Oduntan who identified egg as God’s natural pill that can conquer hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition, noted that it contains best proteins, vitamins and minerals.
“It contains naturally occurring Vitamin D, useful for Calcium and Phosphorus absorption for strong bones and teeth. Egg contains other very important nutrients such as Selenium, Vitamin A and E, Folate, Riboflavin, Choline and Lutein.
“Eggs are the best follow up to breast milk in children as it contains the richest mix of essential amino acids. It contains the perfect combination of protein, 12 Vitamins and 12 minerals. Egg helps to regulate the brain, nervous and cardiovascular system since one egg yolk has about 300 micrograms of choline, helping both memory and mental capacity.”
Also speaking at the event, the Director General of the association, Onallo Akpa, said that eggs for breakfast assist dieters to lose weight because of the feeling of fullness or satiety reflex it stimulates.
“Studies have proved that egg may prevent breast cancer, as women who consume at least six eggs per week reduce their risk of breast cancer by 44 per cent. Eggs prevent ageing of the skin and help in increasing the Red Blood Cell count in infants as well as in their brain development.
“Eggs are best brain and body food for pregnant women, their unborn children and lactating mothers. Egg improves a child’s concentration level, attention span and scholarly performance for ‘eggcellent’ grades.”
“In March, 2002, the American Heart Association guidelines were changed to allow 1 egg per day into the average healthy American diet thereby ending the Association’s 30 years old campaign that limited egg consumption to 3 eggs per week.”
“In the same light, the Harvard School of Public Health published that moderate egg consumption which is defined as one egg per day is not associated with increased risk of heart disease and does not have a negative impact on cholesterol neither does it affect a person’s lipid profile. The research finding suggests that it is saturated fat that raises cholesterol rather than dietary cholesterol,” He added.