The traditional ruler, who was a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), also told the National Economic Council (NEC), chaired by Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, that 2.6 million children were wasted annually due to malnutrition.
In his presentation to the council as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria, Sanusi noted that malnutrition accounts for 53% of deaths among children and that high child mortality and stunting are linked to deficiencies in key micro-nutrients (Vitamin A, Iron, Zinc and Calcium), macro-nutrients (Carbohydrates, Protein, Fats) and associated poor feeding practices, as well as overall nutritional status of the mother.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande, quoted Sanusi, as saying in a statement released in Abuja on Friday, that the burden of malnutrition included stunting, under-weight, obesity and other diet related non-communicable diseases.
According to the Sanusi, the basic causes of malnutrition are poverty, socio-cultural, economic and political environments.
He explained that the syndrome can be treated and that “65% of dietary energy supply is derived from cereals, roots and fibres, indicating low dietary diversity”.
The statement added that the Council welcomed the urgent call from stakeholders to halt malnutrition and related issues in Nigeria.
In his remarks, Osinbajo told Governors of the thirty-six states, the FCT (Federal Capital Territory) Minister and Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, who attended the meeting, to take the problem of malnutrition seriously.
The Council appealed to states and Local Governments to deal with the problem by investing more into issues relating to malnutrition and stated that the states should key into the World Bank sponsored programme on nutrition.