Prof. Elizabeth Ngwu, National President, Association of Nigerian Dietitians (AND), has warned Nigerian against wrong dietary information dished out in the social media.
She gave the warning in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Asaba.
Ngwu who spoke on the sideline of the association’s Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference, said adherence to such dietary information on social media could compound health conditions.
She said Nigerians, especially those with Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) should beware of wrong dietary information and seek the advice of dieticians to effectively manage their conditions through diets.
“It is common knowledge that the internet and social media platforms have become media for disseminating false nutrition information by quacks.
“It is also important to note that diet is very crucial in the prevention, management and control of non-communicable and diet-related diseases,
“We all must have observed an upsurge in Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity and some cancers in Nigeria, associated with life-style changes.
“You often read messages such as ‘squeeze bitter leaves in water and drink the liquid; it cures diabetes’. Such could cause kidney problems,’’ she said.
According to her, WHO (2018) country profile reported that Non-Communicable Diseases accounted for an estimated 29 per cent of all deaths in Nigeria.
“These Non-Communicable Diseases have caused preventable deaths due to poor dietary information and practices,” Ngwu said.
She advised Nigerians to avoid processed foods, embrace local foods and exercise regularly to stay healthy.
Dietitians work with doctors and nurses to develop the correct dietetic care plan for patients based on the patient’s medical, cultural and social needs.
Ngwu appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the bill establishing Dietician Council of Nigeria to regulate and control the practice of dietetics in the country by the licensed professionals.
She said the absence of a regulatory body for dietitians was breeding quackery in the dietetics profession, resulting in loss of lives from the activities of non-nutrition professionals.
“The confusion created by unregulated dietary information over the internet necessitates provision of evidence-based dietary information by professional dietitians in order to protect the health of Nigerians,” Ngwu added.