Adolescent and pre-pregnancy nutrition in Nigeria

Selected by Pietro Cazzola, MD

ABSTRACT
Good nutrition during adolescent and pre-pregnancy period is critical towards a healthy pregnancy and normal birth weight
infant. This article is a review of Adolescent and pre-pregnancy nutrition in Nigeria. Undernutrition in adolescent girls aged
15–19 years in Nigeria has been variously reported to range between 23% and 57.8%. Undernutrition was more prevalent
among the rural compared to the urban adolescent, and was attributable more to socio-economic, and dietary factors. A high
proportion of energy amongst adolescent, was derived from carbohydrates such as rice, yam, and cassava. Proteins were
derived mainly from legumes and pulses, while fats were derived mainly from palm and vegetable oil. Iron was mainly of plant
origin and had low bioavailability due to the presence of absorption inhibitors – tannins and phytates. A high levels of vitamin
A was prevalent due to consumption of red palm oil. Undernourished adolescent girl and pre-pregnant women are likely to
give birth to undernourished infants with the risk of transmitting undernutrition to the future generation. The recommendation
towards the implementation of adolescent and pre-pregnancy nutrition in Nigeria include – The establishment of a countrywide
school-based nutrition programme; Integration of Nutritional counselling with primary health care services, targeting out
of school adolescents; Development of dietary guidelines and IEC materials on nutrition; and Establishment of Preconception
clinic to counsel women on family planning and appropriate diet as well as monitor their body weight prior to pregnancy.

Adinma JIB, Umeononihu OS, Umeh MN.
Tropical Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology / Volume 34 / Issue 1 / January‑April 2017