Parents advised to give infants nutritious meals to enhance growth

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Mrs Faustina Vimariba Toure
Mrs Faustina Vimariba Toure

Mrs Faustina Vimariba-Toure, Greater Accra Regional Nutrition Officer, has urged expectant mothers to refer to the Maternal and Child Health Record Book (MCH Record Book) for guidance on infant feeding to enhance their growth.

The MCH Record Book is a home-based health record for mothers, newborns, and children. It is a guide filled with essential knowledge for a mother to raise her child, secure their health, and protect them from threats to their life.

It also serves as a point of commonality and directional path, that supports the efforts of health professionals and mothers as they work towards establishing an effective relationship, as a tool of practice, and as a means of building strength within families.

Mrs Vimariba-Toure, speaking at a training workshop for journalists, noted that introducing the right complementary feed after the first six months of exclusive breastfeeding was very important and mothers, especially needed to ensure that children got the right food nutrients.

She said complementary food stage was a time to form the food habit of the child and as such it should be made friendly with the right food nutrients.

The Regional Nutrition Office stated that building a healthy and balanced diet was essential to ensure the growth, health, and development of children to their full potential.

According to a survey by National Library of Medicine, poor nutrition increases the risk of illness, and is responsible, directly, or indirectly, for one third of the estimated 9.5 million deaths that occurred in 2006 in children less than five years of age.

It is therefore important that expectant mothers when feeding children must use the four-star (‘4-STAR’) diet plan recommended by the Ghana Health Service as stated in the MCH Record Book, she advised.

The 4-STAR diet is a balanced diet that includes foods from the four major food groups: staples, legumes and seeds, fruits and vegetables and protein source foods.

Mrs Vimariba-Toure said parents needed to ensure children had a variety of the food nutrients they required but not overfeeding.

Healthy food for balanced diet whether served at table or packed in a lunch box must include vegetables, grains, protein, fruits, water, oil and urged that people be mindful of this to improve their total wellbeing.

The Nutrition Officer noted that the book was?designed to link the health records of mothers to their children from pregnancy till the child attained the age of five. It also deals with issues including nutrition, growth monitoring and promotion, and health education in a more focused and illustrative way.

 

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