Poor nutrition can damage child’s brain — Nutritionist

A Nutritionist, Ms Uju Onuorah, says poor nutrition in the first 1,000 days of a
child’s life can cause irreversible damage to the growing brain.

Onuorah, who said this during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday in Abuja, added that “the first 1,000 days from pregnancy to two years is crucial for development.”

She explained that if not given the right foods, it could affect a child’s ability to do well in school.

“It is during the first 1,000 days of a child’s life that the brain begins to grow and develop, and the foundations
for their lifelong health are built.

“Nutrition in particular plays a foundational role in a child’s development and the ability to prosper.

“Research shows that 80 per cent of a child’s brain development occurs within the first 1,000 days of life,
making those years important for lifelong health, learning and success.”

Onuorah also said that stress, trauma, poverty and violence experienced during the first 1,000 days
could have long-term adverse health effects on a baby.

“After birth, babies should be fed only breastmilk for the first six months of life, no water or any other foods because breastmilk is the best source of nutrition during this time.”

On the kinds of food the mother should eat after childbirth, she advised a balanced diet that contains all the food nutrients for healthy growth.

This, according to her, should include lean meat, high-fibre foods, low-fat dairy products and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.

“Our locally available foods such as soups and swallows, yam meals, rice meals, potatoes, cassava meals with a good amount of lean meat or fish, fresh fruits, vegetables and water are great for nursing mothers.


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