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N JUABEN: Parents Urged To Give Children Fresh Fruits
A survey conducted by the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in the New Juaben Municipality indicates that many children are being given processed drinks to send to school other than natural fruits which are more beneficial to their health.
The study revealed that many children who go to school are given packed drinks which are mostly foreign and contain additives such as sugar and preservatives nutrition experts say could be harmful to the health of humans, especially children if taken too much.
According to the 2011 Ghana nutrition profiles compiled by the Ghana Health Service (GHS), investing in nutrition which includes the intake of natural fruits, could improve several key development outcomes in Ghana including child survival and educational activities.
The statistics also showed that both malnutrition and under nutrition massively contributed to mortality levels in children under five years and impairs their immune system which places them at much greater risk of illnesses and death.
A significant factor in the malnutrition situation in Ghana is said to be Vitamin A deficiency which affects seven in 10 children under age-five and estimates also show that vitamin deficiency contributes to one in three deaths of children from six to 59 months of age.
Additionally, available statistics have also proved that one in every 13 children dies before his or her fifth birthday, with about half of these deaths associated with under nutrition while children who suffer this condition are more likely to die of common childhood diseases such as malaria, diarrhoea and pneumonia.
Mr Bismarck Sarkodie, Eastern Regional Nutrition Officer, in an interview with the GNA on the survey, said it was worrying that many parents preferred artificial drinks for their children than the natural fresh fruits which are healthy.
He said oranges, pineapples, watermelon and many of the local fruits were high sources of the various Vitamins needed to address the situation, yet Vitamin ’A’ deficiency had been identified as a major malnutrition problem in Ghana.
Mr Sarkodie explained that the fruit drinks once processed could not provide the necessary minerals needed for children, especially for the boosting of their immune system against diseases.
He therefore urged parents to make it a habit to provide their children with natural fruit drinks every day to keep them healthy.
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