The beverage giant made a case for the optimal nutrition during the foetus stage of children at the 39th Conference and Annual General Meeting of the Nigerian Institute of Food Science and Technology (NIFST) which held at the Concorde Hotel, Owerri, Imo State.
Themed, “Food Industrialization; A Pathway to Agribusiness Transformation,” the two-day event commenced with a session on “Nutrition in the First 1,000 Days and its Effects in the Development of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).”
Speaking at the event’s flag-off, a Professor of Nutrition and Director of Academic Planning at the Ambrose Alli University, Prof. Ignatius Onimawo identified the first 1,000 days of life as a unique window of opportunity to prevent NCDs.
Prof. Onimawo explained that most NCDs such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular diseases and cancer originate from the first 1,000 days of life.
He said that, “The NCDs experienced later in life are developed from the foetus stage. It is important to know that, as opposed to the notion that these non-infectious diseases are contracted from lifestyle choices or unhealthy eating habits, they actually set in at an early stage, within the first 1,000 days window period. After this period, we have little or no control over what happens.”
Prof. Onimawo harped on the need to better educate expectant and nursing mothers to make informed decisions regarding nutritional care in the first 1,000 days of their babies’ lives.
Commenting on the event, the Community Affairs Manager, Coca-Cola Nigeria, Emeka Mba restated Coca- Cola’s commitment to supporting dialogue with stakeholders on health and nutritional education.
Mba said that, “Coca- Cola is actively supportive of over 280 physical activities and nutritional educational programs around the world. Through such engagements we are able to foster shared understanding and communication on health and nutritional issues.
While commending Coca-Cola Nigeria for being a long standing partner and sponsor of its projects, the National President, NIFST, Dr. Chijioke Osuji also urged other corporate bodies to emulate the beverage giant.