Published On: Sun, Dec 8th, 2013

Expert identifies key factors to tackle malnutrition

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By Adebayo Folorunsho-Francis

Teresa Pounds, a clinical assistant dean for clinical pharmacy education at the Mercer University College of Pharmacy, Atlanta, United States, has suggested that development of appropriate behaviour and physical change interventions can prevent malnutrition.

Speaking on the theme, ‘Malnutrition and Nutrition Support of Adults in the Healthcare System: Role of the Pharmacist’ during a presentation at the recently concluded annual conference of the Nigerian Association of Pharmacists and Pharmaceutical Scientists in the Americas (NAPPSA), Pounds noted that malnutrition was a persistent worldwide issue and thus continued to influence health outcomes.

Pounds, who is a pharmacy residency programme director, remarked that poor nutrition played a role in at least half of the 10.9 million child deaths each year (approximately 5 million death are related to malnutrition).

“Malnutrition of pregnant women in developing countries is the cause of 1 out of 6 low infant birth weights. Out of  925 million people malnourished in 2010, close to 26 per cent of them reside in sub-Saharan Africa,” she said.

According to her, malnutrition could be defined as a combination of varying degrees of over or under nutrition and inflammatory activity leading to a change in body composition and diminished function.

While justifying the United States World Food Programme Hunger Map 2012 statistics that placed 5 – 14 per cent of children under five years in Nigeria as malnourished, the scholar warned that malnutrition could lead to high rate of morbidity and mortality among children, retarded growth, impaired intellectual development, altered mental status and increased rate of infections.

“It is therefore in the interest of all that the risk factors associated with malnutrition should be recognised and addressed,” she stressed.

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Expert identifies key factors to tackle malnutrition