Ms Gloria Kobati, the Upper East Regional Nutrition Officer of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), has reiterated the importance of good nutrition in the development of adolescent girls and urged parents and Boarding schools to serve the children balanced diets.
She said while some adolescent girls did not have enough to eat, others had irregular eating habits that affected their nutrition, as most of them were cautious of weight gain and denied themselves essential food, thus getting malnourished.
Ms Kobati, who gave the advice in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Bolgatanga, said both conditions of overweight and underweight affected the health of young girls and encouraged them to eat well.
“There is this crave for eating sweets, soft drinks and fast foods which is common with adolescents and most of these have no nutritional value in them but if you must eat those foods then it would be better to include vegetables and protein among others”, she said.
“When you are anaemic you cannot study in class, and your productivity is low and you cannot concentrate in class”, she added.
She said as part of efforts to improve nutrition and iron status of adolescents, the GHS was implementing an iron and folic tablets supplementation programme for adolescents, to boost their anaemia status and noted that though the medicines were currently in short supply, the programme would be re -activated and by the end of 2022 and urged adolescents to embrace it by accepting to take the supplements when health personnel served it to them.
She said all social mobilsation had been done this year to encourage more young girls to take the tablets.
Ms Kobati said there was a high rate of teenage pregnancy in the region and the provision of iron and folic acid to adolescent girls would improve their iron status and help those who get pregnant to be healthy and have healthy babies.
She expressed concern about food security in the region and said it had started impacting on nutrition status of children and mothers.
She urged the government and District Assemblies to support women who did not have farmlands to undertake dry season gardening to grow leafy vegetables among others, to improve on their nutrition and that of their children, with other income generating ventures.