Obinna Odogwu, Abakaliki

 The Assistant Chief Dietician with the Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, (FETHA), Uchechi Nwachukwu, has given insight into why some nursing mothers add weight a few months after putting to bed.

She said the condition was as a result of inappropriate dietary intake by the lactating mothers and excessive sugar accumulation in the body system, which came about as a result of intake of sugary foods.

Speaking in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State capital on the occasion of the 2019 World Dieticians Day, she said: “There is this wrong conception that nursing mothers should be taking tea. So, if the woman is taking it, over time, because of excess sugar accumulation, the nursing mother will be getting too fat.

“We advocate that our mothers should be taking our local food. She can take fufu with our local soup that you use different spices to prepare. She can equally take yam pepper soup. She can take rice, but let them be local staples. In addition to that, the woman is encouraged to take at least two to three servings of snacks.

“What does that mean? Normally they are supposed to eat three times. In-between meals like 10, 10:30, 11am, she can take a snack. It may be two slices of bread with avocado pear. She may eat two fingers of banana with groundnut. These are healthy snacks. We don’t encourage the intake of empty calories in the form of soft drinks.

“You see many women consume it. And you know during the first three months of putting to bed they don’t do much. So, all the consumptions of excess sugar containing drinks will make that woman to add weight.”

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Nwachukwu advised people to pay more attention to their dietary needs, saying t malnutrition has adverse effect on the body system, especially in children if not handled appropriately.

“If a child does not feed well as a result of under nutrition, if it is a child of less than five years, it will affect the brain development. Academically that child has been hampered and the immunity is lowered. Any disease coming to the child will get him easily,” she said.

Nwachukwu explained that the World Dieticians Day, which is celebrated every second Wednesday in March, was specifically staged to remember and recollect the contributions dieticians make in the management of their patients in the hospital, clients, and community at large.

“We equally use that opportunity to talk to our people on how to eat healthy foods and adequately, especially choosing foods from our local staples; complementing foods. It is to celebrate the contributions of dieticians and to create awareness in food, nutrition and health of our people,” she added.

In her address, the Head of Department, Nutrition and Dietetics in the hospital, Utom Ihuoma, explained that public health nutrition was about the promotion of good feeding and healthy lifestyles to enhance the health status of individuals and wider society.

Utom, a Registered Dietician Nutritionist (RDN), lauded the department saying it has made appreciable progress since its establishment in the hospital in 2001 under the leadership of Dr. Ekuma Oji Uzor in the then Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Abakaliki, now FETHA.

She said: “There were only two dieticians working in Ebonyi State (one in FMC and one in the defunct Ebonyi State University Teaching Hospital (EBSUTH); but today we are 14 dieticians in FETHA.

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