Children’s nutrition should be a priority – Nutritionist TMA
Mr. Samuel Atuahene Antwi, metropolitan nutritionist from Tema, urged parents and school principals to take an interest in the nutrition of their children and ensure that they are consuming the necessary nutritional foods.
He said the health of the children largely depended on their nutritional status, adding that as they were still growing, adequate nutrient intake could not be overstated.
Mr Antwi said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on the sidelines of a Parents’ Association (PTA) meeting hosted by Naylor SDA Elementary School in Tema.
He added that food intake, which was the main source of nutrients, should be based on informed decisions that included what should be available in the school environment and how children can make healthy choices based on knowledge and comprehension.
He encouraged parents to make sure their children’s meals were based on the concept of the four star diet; “where each meal should consist of a variety of basic ingredients, legumes, foods of animal origin, foods rich in vitamin A and other fruits and vegetables.
“Most of our local foods such as kenkey and fish, gari and beans, waakye and fish, banku and peanut soup, among others, almost meet the requirements of the four star diet, just that the students should pick up fruit frequently while they are eating it, ”he said.
Addressing the role of stakeholders in ensuring children receive the necessary nutrients, Mr Antwi said parents need to have an idea of the types of diets served to their children in school.
He said parents should also take responsibility for ensuring that their children bring fruit to school and participate in fruit day observance in various schools; they must instill in their children the need to always choose a healthy diet at school or at home.
For schools, Antwi urged management to ensure that healthy meals are served in the school environment, while teachers are also supporting student awareness of nutrition and health.
The Tema Metro nutritionist added that schools should also provide hygiene facilities such as toilets and hand washing stations, which should be conducive to use.
Mr Antwi reiterated that school authorities should also ensure that their premises are safe for children’s physical activities.