New invention helps improve nutrition among youth



Lack of proper nutrition is a major factor in the increase of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in many sub-Saharan African countries.

World Health Organisation (WHO) projections show that NCDs will be responsible for a significantly increased total number of deaths in the next decade. The greatest increases will be in the WHO regions of Africa, where they will increase by over 20 per cent. In the African region, NCDs will cause around 3.9 million deaths by 2020.

Through a grant funded by Grand Challenges Canada, the African Centre for Innovation and Leadership Development (ACILD), a non-profit research organisation, has developed a slew of inventions tagged the Nutrido Programme, which, when used together, can serve to increase healthy eating among youths and reduce the onset of nutrition-related NCDs. The Nutrido programme consists of board and video games, storytelling and e-vouchers for fruits and vegetables.

“The Nutrido Programme has the potential to reduce NCDs, improve eating behaviour among youth, and create a cultural shift among youth that healthy eating is cool – thereby moving them toward eating healthy and nutrient-dense foods” said Dr. Obidimma Ezezika, the principal investigator and lead innovator of the project.

“This is one of the first of its kind to integrate a voucher system, school farms and nutrition storytelling to promote healthy eating among youth,” he added.

The impact of this work on students’ behaviour is being measured and shows promising results. According to Mrs. Ezekiel Lenah, a Nutrition Teacher of the African International College, Abuja: “The game is wonderful, interesting and educational.’’

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