Impact Of Nutrition On Nations Produtivity And Healthy Growth

Nigeria has greatly improved socio-economically unlike her past years. The problem of malnutrition still cut across some of her citizens. She has been long hobbled by political instability, corruption, inadequate infrastructure and poor macro-economic management. This has led her to over dependence on the capital-intensive oil sector, which provides 20% of GDP, 95% of foreign exchange earnings, and about 65% of budgetary revenue. But certain governmental and economic reformation has brought about a lot of improvement ranging from an estimated increase in her GDP from $430 per capita in 2003 to $1,000 in 2005. Reducing the unemployment rate from 3.2% in 1997 to 2.9% in 2005. The adoption of micro-finance banking, and bank liquidation and consolidation by the CBN, resulted in the rating of Nigerian banks as one of the best in Africa. The peak of the whole thing was the historic debt-relief of $30 billion worth from the $37 billion own by Nigeria to the Paris Club in March 2006.In spite of all these recent development, 70% of Nigerians are still under the alienating hands of malnutrition and 60% in 2000 below poverty line. I have categorized the Nigerian nutritional problem for the sake of clarification into undernutrition, overnutrition and micronutrition. The purpose of this article is to review the government effort and also suggest ways of emanating the country from the alienating hands of poverty that threatens the country’s future.NUTRITIONAL PROBLEMS.
Though the three nutritional problems make up a summary of the country’s problem of malnutrition, it will be good to review the whole problem one after the other. Undernutrition is of the greatest nutritional problem that stricken mostly people in the rural areas and some of those who went to the city in search of greener pasture. Undernutrition is characterized by inadequate intake of macro-nutrients (namely: calories and protein). According to the president Obasanjo, “almost half of children ages 7+-13 in Nigeria are underweight”. A lot of children and adults go to bed starved, some take one meal a day and most of these meals are carbohydrates. This leads to malnutrition and protein deficiency. It is the main cause of kwashiorkor which is more unique to people living in the tropical African region. For adults, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.79g per Kg (0.36g per 1b) of body weight each day. For children and infants this RDA is doubled and tripled, respectively, because of their rapid growth. This is the root cause of stunted growth and deformation in growing children. One-fifth of Nigerian children die before the age of five, primarily from millions of Nigerians are also living below one dollar a day, others live by begging for food on the streets.Overnutrition is mainly the problem of adults and few adolescents especially the urban dwellers. It is a rapidly escalating public nutrition problem, principally reflecting shift in dietary patterns and more sedimentary lifestyles. The situation in Nigeria where economy favor a particular group than others, the poor gets poorer while the rich gets richer had brought about a higher percentage of overnutrition- Nigerian big man disease. This nutritional problem is now in an alarming rise in diet-related chronic disease such as type II diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases and several diet-related cancers. These chronic diseases accounted for human suffering, social distress, loss of productivity, and economic burden to the health and other economic sectors. The increase in population obsessed in the country affects the country’s labour force and the productivity of the country both at present and in the near future.The last but not the list is micronutrient deficiencies. It is the inadequate intake of key vitamins and minerals. It is both experienced by the poor and the rich, rural and urban dwellers. It is hunger hidden under the guise of sufficiency in Nigerian society. Lack of vitamins and minerals results in irreversible impairment to child physical and mental development. That is why this type of malnutrition is centered on pregnant women and children. According to some empirical conclusions, it is observed that even moderate iodine deficiency during foetal development and infancy has been shown to depress intelligence quotient levels by 10-15 points. Folic acid deficiency is linked to serious birth defects. Inadequate iron affects children’s growth and learning ability, and reduces their ability to concentrate, fully participate in school and society interacts and develops; it also contributes to material mortality and lowered workforce productivity. It is on record that 40% of children under 5years of age suffers vitamin A deficiency.The three major nutritional problem in Nigeria place a great challenge on the country’s faltering economy has led to declining imports of costly protein-rich food, oil and animal feed. Many parents now abandon the task of breast-feeding and all this and many others contribute to the risk of malnutrition in Nigeria and more so now she is undergoing a rapid socioeconomic revolution.GOVERNMENT ACTION PRIOR TO DEMOCRACY
Nigeria economy was dominated by Agriculture and trade, which flourished during the colonial rule in 19th century. In 1960s and 1970s the petroleum industry developed and prompted greatly increased export earnings and allowing massive investments in industry, agriculture, infrastructure and social science.The sharp decline in oil prices, economic mismanagement, and continued military rule characterized Nigeria in the 1980s. In 1983, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) began providing assistance to the Nigerian Federal and State Ministries of Health to develop and implement programs in family planning and child survival. In 1992, an HIV/AIDS prevention and control program was added to existing health activities USAID committed $135 million to bilateral assistance programs for the period of 1986 to 1996 as Nigeria undertook an initially successful Structural Adjustment program, but later abandoned it. Plans to commit $150 million in assistance from 1993 to 2003 were interrupted by strains in U.S.-Nigeria relations over human right abuses, the failed transition to democracy, and a lack of cooperation from the Nigerian Government on anti-narcotics trafficking issues. By the mid-1990s, these problems resulted in the curtailment of USAID activities that might benefit the military government. Existing health programs were redesigned to focus on working through grassroots Nigerian non-governmental organizations and community groups.In 1987, The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), under the principal Researcher Dr Kenton Dashiell, launched an ambiguous effort in Nigeria to combat widespread malnutrition. They encouraged the use of nutrients, economical soybeans in everyday food. They further said that soybeans are about 40% protein-rich than any of the common vegetable or animal food sources found in Africa. With the addition of maize, rice and other cereals to the soybeans, the resulting protein meets the standard of the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). Soybeans also contain about 20% oil, which is 85% unsaturated and cholesterol free. Though a lot of nice programs for malnutrition alleviation started at this period, there were a lot of other socio-economic thorns that hindered the popularity and proper functioning of these programs till the democratic period. The economic instability within this period favored malnutrition to a great extent due to autocratic government. There was little or no in-depth effort to fight malnutrition. The period can be identified as the egoistic period- when the governmental private interest dominated at the expense of the suffering masses.THE LATER INTERVENTION
The most interesting part of this period is that it is characterized by promise and hope. Promise which is the chief working tool of this period and hope ever present to sustain the promise. The president Obasanjo in 2002 meeting with the president International Union of Nutritional Sciences promised to support a better coordination of nutritional activities and programs in Nigeria, he further said, “the high prevalence of malnutrition is totally unacceptable to this government and he assured the IUNS president that he would do everything possible to ensure that resources are available to improve household food security, greater access to healthcare services and better caring capacity by mothers including support for breast feeding promotion.On the 27th September 2005, Nigerian president chief Olusegun Obasanjo lunched the Nasarawa state school feeding program at the Laminga primary school. The program is fully funded and administered by the state of Nasarawa, which makes it a unique model in Africa today. The epoch making event is in fulfillment of one of the promises of combating malnutrition especially among children whom he observed that many at the age of 7-13years are underweight. He further promise to reach out about 27million children during the coming 10years.Other international bodies like the World Health Organization (WHO), The United Nation International Children’s Fund (UNICEF), The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) which began in 1992 but took more root during democratic regime. All of them and many more are fighting acidly to eradicate poverty and malnutrition.There are a lot of challenges that exist in some nutrition improvement programs. There is the need for the government to place some nutritional research into the national policy. They should be able to reach out to the nook and cranny of the country. They should be able to coordinating all the sectors of anti-malnutrition agencies. A more effective intervention is very much needed.Nutrition is now an interventional issues a stake and as well the unavoidable duty of each nation. Though it is difficult to bring solution to every man’s door but the government should try as much as possible to reach people through, mobile agencies, and mass media. There should be a lot of effective research conducted in the nation to be updated with information such as; average government investment in nutrition per capital, current statues of nutrition deficiencies, and information on nutrition initiatives, as well as national policy frameworks and interagency coordination mechanisms. There is need to promote nutritional organisation especially, non-governmental organisation. The government should try to improve the socio-economic life of the people. Agriculture should be encouraged and improved in the country. There should be a check on the nutritional value of every product both imported and non-imported product. The Government should promote a global nutrition agenda, which would increase nutrition’s visibility at national levels and beyond.If these above suggested solution would be taken into account, Nigeria would improve to a heavy extent as the giant of Africa and future giant of the world economy, thereby clearing the future storm of economy facing Nigeria because of some of her citizens suffering from nutritional problems.

Mental Health First Aid – Learn How to Help Someone Experiencing a Mental Health Problem

As a newly qualified therapist back in 2004, one area where I knew I definitely needed to know more was mental illness. I wanted to be better informed about the different common types of mental ill-health; to be able to recognise their symptoms in a client, and know what to do. This, I reasoned, would give me a better understanding of clients with a past history of mental health problems – whatever their current reason for consulting me – and would also equip me to cope if I encountered someone in serious crisis. I had heard of clients experiencing a psychotic episode during therapy : as a responsible practitioner, what should I do in that situation? I honestly wasn’t sure.Then, late in 2005, I heard a radio discussion about Mental Health First Aid (MHFA), a new Scottish NHS initiative which seemed to offer what I wanted in an intensive 12-hour course. Researching further, I discovered it had originated in Australia, and that Scotland was one of a growing number of countries to adopt it. It covered a wide range of mental health problems, was aimed at ordinary people not doctors, and taught the diagnosis, support and signposting skills I wanted. Bingo! I hurried to book a place – only to discover that I couldn’t. Scottish residents only; no exceptions. Until the English NHS adopted the scheme, which they might do sometime (or not), I couldn’t take the course. It was infuriating – I was happy to pay; I just wanted the training.I got it thanks to the support of colleagues, many from the APHP. I found an accredited Scottish trainer prepared to travel, and a letter to other therapists attracted sufficient interest to make a course viable if we shared the costs, so I hosted a course at a local hotel in March 2006. I remain truly grateful to those who responded to an enquiry from an obscure colleague and joined me for what turned out to be a fantastic two days of training, networking and chat, and also to the APHP for accepting the course as a credit towards our CPD requirement. Afterwards, MHFA manual in the bookshelf and NHS Scotland certificate proudly on the wall, I went back to my practice with increased confidence and understanding about mental health issues.Now, two years on, the English NHS has indeed launched a version of MHFA. It’s based very closely on the Scottish model, with input from Lewes and Wealden MIND and from NIMHE (the National Institute for Mental Health in England), and is now being rolled out throughout the country. It teaches the same theory, techniques and strategies as the Scottish version, but instead of NHS Scotland, the accrediting body is the Care Services Improvement Partnership, commissioned by the Department of Health. Successful participants receive a certificate issued centrally by CSIP and a Mental Health First Aid (England) manual. Like its counterparts elsewhere, the English MHFA initiative is not aimed at qualified mental health professionals but at all adults: anyone can take the course. That said, the priority target groups are those who may be likely to encounter a person experiencing mental health problems, so health ancillary workers, frontline staff in advice and counselling, prison and probation officers and the like will be high on the list in England, as elsewhere.The aims of MHFA are fourfold:* To preserve life where a person may be a danger to themselves or others; for example, where there are suicidal thoughts, self-harm or psychosis* To provide help to prevent the mental health problems developing into a more serious stateTo promote the recovery of good mental health* To provide comfort to a person experiencing a mental health problemBy educating more people about mental health issues, the course also aims to increase awareness and thus reduce the stigma and prejudice that can be directed at those experiencing mental illness.It must be stressed that this is not a course that trains therapists to treat clients’ mental health problems, particularly not clients in crisis. My initial hypnotherapy training taught me to direct such clients straight to professional medical help, and MHFA teaches the same. Where I have always seen us in the equation is in the pre- or post-emergency phases, under the “self-help” sign – the things that a person can do for themselves in addition to any treatment or medication prescribed by their doctor. We cannot treat severe clinical depression, but once a patient is stable and receiving medication and/or treatment, we can help them learn relaxation, develop confidence and feelings of self-worth, and take positive steps to contribute to their recovery. By providing a really good grounding in the practicalities of mental ill-health, plus a toolkit of strategies for use in an emergency, MHFA has made me better at reading my clients and helping them find their way to recovery, and has prepared me for anything I may meet in the way of crisis or extreme distress.My interest in this aspect of my work was so much stimulated by the original training that I stayed in contact with those involved, and was fortunate enough last year to gain a place in the first cohort to train as accredited MHFA trainers in England. This article isn’t a plea for business, although I am now delivering several courses a month to groups of up to fifteen participants, mainly in the voluntary sector, in addition to my continuing clinical practice. Rather, I would like to alert colleagues to the existence of this initiative, which is running now in England, is rolling out shortly in Wales, and has been established in Scotland for several years. I believe that hypnotherapy and psychotherapy fall firmly into the category of “priority target groups”, whether the local PCT identifies us as so or not, and if training is available locally colleagues will find it rewarding and useful. Unfortunately trainer places at present are going mainly to large organisations and public bodies who wish to appoint internal trainers to serve their workforce, but there are freelance trainers and with luck or persistence a local course may be found. I’d be happy to answer any queries about the course content, or help source a trainer or course, if colleagues wish to contact me.A representative of our local air ambulance, who has been a skilled firstaider for years, remarked to me how much satisfaction he got, outside of work, when he chanced on an emergency and had the skills to help. I thought of him shortly afterwards, during an MHFA course I led for advice workers whose clients are often distressed or in crisis. When we reached the material on recognising and responding to suicidal thoughts I discovered some of them had recently lost a close colleague in this way, and were affected as people always are by a tragedy of this kind. Although training for work purposes, it was clear from what was said that they saw their new skills applying equally to their personal lives; in other words, if they chanced on another emergency, perhaps next time they would be able to help. With one Briton in four experiencing some kind of mental health problem in any one year, according to one statistic, it seems obvious to me that Mental Health First Aid may turn out to be equally as important at the kind that comes in a green box with a white cross on it.

Weight Loss Problems – Genetics Or Lifestyle

When most things in life don’t work out the way we would like them to, a scapegoat is first thing we look for. Something to blame for our mostly self-generated problems.The theory goes like this: you are obese because your body has this gene that makes you that way and there is little you can do about it. Solace to millions, but pure hype used mostly to sell copy.There is absolutely no proof of this. Even somebody without a degree in advanced molecular biology specializing in genetics could tell you why. It’s simply impossible.50 years ago, obesity rates were negligible. Today, more than 60% of the US population is overweight or obese. Obesity rates have jumped 70% since 1991 – no way could this happen if genetics were the problem.Genetics is about evolution and evolution works on a much longer time line than fifty or even hundred years – try thousands of years. There has been no Darwinian force to make us heavier.There is no genetic benefit to being overweight – in fact, it’s just the opposite. If overweight trends continue, obese people will eventually die out since generally they make less money, have fewer children, have more health problems and die sooner.But don’t hold your breath. It won’t happen any time soon and it won’t help the overweight of today. And neither will telling them, “It’s all your genes fault.”Are some people more predisposed to being overweight? Yes – and you know who you are. But this only means that it’s easier to get overweight, not manifest destiny.Experts think about 25% of the all the factors that cause obesity are linked to genetics. So that means if you are carrying 20lbs of fat, 5lbs comes from genetics – in the worst case – and the rest is due to lifestyle factors.In reality, all excess weight comes from lifestyle factors – namely not exercising and eating too many calories. It doesn’t matter what kind of genes you have. That some people get overweight faster than others is no excuse.So why would people – even respectable people – be saying such things? That’s pretty easy: Which book do you thinks sells better: “You’re Obese and It’s not Your Fault” or “How to Burn Off that Fat with Hard Work at the Gym and a Strict Diet?”There’s also a huge supplement industry that lives off obese people. The fitness industry is no different, really, we just tell it like it is – unfortunately, people are tired of hearing that same old tune.The pharmaceutical industry also loves obese people – they can sell billions of dollars of costly medications for “weight control” and they just swoon at all the nasty health conditions obese people are more prone too.But the reality is humans stopped evolving a long time ago. Once we could control our environment, evolutionary pressures largely ceased.The real reason why people are obese is the huge selection of fattening foods available and poor self control when it comes to eating. Plus, the TV, couch and remote control. Lifestyle changes are necessary if you want to burn fat and lose weight healthily.Another factor related to genetics is that some people’s bodies seem to like to stay at a particular weight and body fat percentage. Even strict dieting and exercise just causes the body to burn less energy thereby defeating efforts to lose that adipose tissue. The reverse is true for some who would actually like to gain weight – muscle weight – and can’t seem to no matter how hard they try.The good news is these “set points” – that the body defends with a will – can be changed by sticking with it. All the more reason for long term lifestyle changes as opposed to “get slim quick” plans. Any short term plan – no matter how effective – is doomed to failure.These genetic body fat percentage set points may also be part of the reason why people get obese in the first place. Since they see no immediate effects from overeating – their body may react by increasing their metabolism to burn off the extra calories – they think it’s OK to overeat again. But after awhile, your body can just give up and begins storing the extra calories in the form of fat.This also explains why some folks just never get overweight – their body reacts to extra calories by increasing its metabolic rate.Regardless of the cause, there is still only one sure cure for obesity – less food in, more calories burned.Maybe someday we will be able to modify a person’s genetic structure and create GM people, so they don’t get obese, but that day is at least a decade off. Any “diet” medication – like those now coming on the market – used to suppress the effects of bad genes are likely to have unpalatable side effects including seriously denting your wallet.And only a few percent of us are really affected by the perfect storm of bad genes that allow morbid obesity. But this has been the case for the last millennia and is no excuse for the bulging waistlines surrounding us today.Look to lifestyle, not genetics if you really want to know why you are overweight – and look at the good side: you do have a choice. Your overweight is not carved into your genetic code.