Nigeria’s diabetic patients may hit 6.1 million by 2030

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Failure by Nigeria to expedite actions on the implementation of the national policy on nutrition will lead to the population of diabetes patients rising by 100 per cent to 6.1 million by 2030, according to the Director, Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition, Prof. Sandy Thomas.

Speaking at the unveiling of the Agricultural Sector Food Security and Nutrition Strategy 2016 to 2025 in Abuja on Thursday, Thomas said, the Federal Government should engage in lots of nutritional awareness, initiate policies that will prioritise good nutrition in schools, prisons, hospitals among other public places.

She said government should “provide high quality foods in schools and workplace. In schools, hospitals across the country including armed forces, in the prison system, it is important to increase advocacy for nutritious foods as it increases diets.

“This can shape the norms around foods that contribute to consumption of high-quality foods. People with diabetes are forecast to double from 3.1 to 6.1 million between 2011 – 2030.”

She emphasized need to transform the country’s food environment in ways to promote greater diversity, availability, affordability and nutrition.

On the policy document, she stated that it provided recommendation for actions that supply dynamics of the food system.

She also advised the federal government to implement economic measures through taxes, subsidies, controls and redistribution of income to nutritionally-vulnerable groups.

She added that government should encourage marketing of high quality diets and restrict promotion of unhealthy foods, stressing that these should serve as actions to shape food environment for improved diets and nutrition.

She emphasized that government should encourage more social marketing to promote nutritious foods and discourage or restrict marketing of food products to children.

“Advertising of snacks should not be accepted. We need to reformulate, label and processed foods to increase nutritional value – extending the reach of more nutritious reformulated products,” she said.

“Some forms of processing can help increase food availability, extend seasonality and make food safer to eat. Food fortification can also add nutritional value and the labeling could help consumers make nutrition-based decisions.”

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