The National Demographic Health Survey has revealed that about thirty one point two percent of children within five year old in Kwara State are stunted.
The affected children are bereft of nutritional value that could aid their rapid growth like their contemporaries.
The NDHS report also indicated that three out of every ten women in the State do not practice exclusive breastfeeding, resulting in thirty two point one percent of children not exclusively breastfed for six months as required.
A Senior Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria, Jayne Arinze-Egemonye, made these revelations to newsmen on the sidelines of a workshop on Domestication of Food and Nutrition Policy and Multisectoral Strategy Plan of Action organized by the Kwara State Government in Ilorin, the state capital.
Arinze-Egemonye explained that the stunted children are too short and cannot perform optimally like their contemporaries while in schools.
The specialist, who noted that stunting nutrition affects the way children perform academically, said a child who supposed to be the best in class may fall short of expectation.
She added that studies had shown a drop in performance of children in the state in their education because of nutritional problem.
Arinze-Egemonye, however, informed that a policy document would be worked out from the forum and if deployed appropriately, would position the state to be strategic in developing nutrition programme.
She said her organisation was excited that line Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) working nutrition have budget lines and urged the state government to release funds for the smooth implementation of the strategy documents of the concerned MDAs.
Arinze-Egemonye maintained that the frightening data of stunted children in the state would reduce drastically if funds were properly utilised.
Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Planning and Economic Development, Alhaji Akanbi AbdulQuadir Shuaib, said the workshop was apt and timely, especially at the period that the state wants to embark on home grown school feeding for children in public schools.
The Permanent Secretary who commended the Committee members drawn from the Ministries of Information and Communication, Health and National Planning and Economic Development, assured that the state government would find plausible ways to address the identified challenges.