A new report ‘Understanding Nigeria’s protein deficiency status and evaluating campaign activities’, says 45 per cent of Nigerian’s population do not consume protein daily, especially households in northern Nigeria and lower social classes, due to poverty and unemployment.
The Nigerian Protein Deficiency Report 2020, conducted by Ipsos Nigeria Limited, a leading market research company, showed that the level of protein deficiency in Nigeria is high, even though seven out of 10 households believe that they have enough protein intake.
Mr Obaro Agalabri, a research analyst, unveiling the report at the eighth Protein ChallengeNG Webinar series, put Nigeria’s protein per capital daily intake at 45.4 gramme per day, an amount below Food and Agriculture Organisation’s recommended minimum per capita daily protein intake of 53.8 grammes.
While the report indicated beans as the most preferred source of protein, he declared that high cost of protein and household income levels remain the major deterrent to adequate protein intake in Nigeria, despite a high number of people who were aware of the benefits of protein.
According to him, “beans accounts for 80 per cent of consumed protein, with fish (64 per cent) and meat (59 per cent) are the second and third most consumed sources of protein. But people at the bottom of the pyramid are taking more of soya beans compared to fish and meat.”
Agalabri declared that there is a gap in access to information on soybean and other soybean products, urging increased awareness on these products to ensure adequate daily protein intake.
According to him, “it is important for us to be able to include in our communication, not just the need to consume protein, but the need to consume adequate protein needed for the body and also for people to take protein on a daily basis.”
Dr Beatrice Chinyem Oganah-Ikujenyo, a nutritionist at the Department of Home Economics, Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, Oto-Ijanikin Lagos, however, linked the inadequate intake of proteins and micro-nutrients by Nigerians to socio-economic, cultural and political factors.
According to her, “Core issues facing the alleviation of protein deficiency is poor knowledge of food and feeding habits, poverty, high cost of animal protein and culture/superstitions, where children are rarely given large meat/fish portion.”
Dr Oganah-Ikujenyo said that children need more protein than adults for growth and development, urging that as a long-term solution, nutrition be thought of as a subject in schools to effectively tackle protein deficiency.
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