With malnutrition remaining a major public health in Nigeria as it accounts for more than 50 per cent of under five deaths in the country. Statistics have also shown that one million Nigerians suffering severe malnutrition. Unfortunately, the situation has assumed public health proportion and this has also been linked to poor academic performance among many Nigerian children.
In recognition of these challenges, Nestle Nigeria Plc, last week introduced new Golden Morn, fortified with Vitamin A and Iron into the Nigerian market to ensure Nigerians meet the daily recommended dietary allowance for Vitamin A and Iron, particularly children and pregnant women.
According to experts, Vitamin A and Iron are essential micronutrients that are necessary for the survival, growth and development of every individual while their deficiencies in the body result into severe health conditions and diseases.
The enriched Golden Morn in addition to its current nutrients like calcium and protein, now has the 30 percent daily Recommended Dietary Allowance, RDA for Vitamin A and 55 percent daily RDA for iron.
Presenting the product to participants, the Managing Director/CEO, Nestle Nigeria Plc, Mr. Martin Woolnough, noted that Nestle decided to introduce Vitamin A and iron fortified Golden Morn to address the problem of micronutrient deficiencies in the country through food fortification.
Woolnough added that the motive was also to improve the availability of affordable micronutrient-fortified commonly consumed stable foods in Nigeria such as flour, sugar, edible oil, salt among others.
Studies have shown that food fortification help to improve the deficiency status of the population and at the same time not requiring changes in dietary habits.
Worldwide, through micronutrient fortification of food products, Nestle provided 53 billion servings of iron, 102 billion servings of iodine, 35 billion servings of Vitamin A and 14 billion servings of zinc in 2011. Speaking, Category Business Manager, Diary, Nestle Nigeria, Mr. Adewale Arikawe, said Golden Morn which has been a household cereal in Nigeria in the last 26 years was made from best quality maize and soya grains which are sourced locally with highest standards.
The World Health Organisation, WHO, Global prevalence on Vitamin A deficiency estimates that 29.5percent of pre-school age children suffer Vitamin A deficiency in Nigeria, whilst 7.7 percent of pregnant women suffer night blindness, hence the need for fortified foods with Vitamin A and iron.
Arikawe announced that beyond the enrichment, Golden Morn will commence a major consumer engagement campaign highlighting the importance of iron and Vitamin A in cereals and fortification of Golden Morn.
Endorsing the product in his lecture titled; "Micronutrient deficiencies in Nigeria: The role of food fortification", Prof. Isaac Akinyele of the Department of Human Nutrition, University of Ibadan, affirmed that the launch of Golden Morn with Vitamin A and iron was timely as micronutrient deficiency has become a serious nutritional problem in Nigeria.