The National Food and Nutrition Commission says businesses dealing in production and processing of foodstuff should be transparent and honest in their advertising messages if they are to contribute effectively to Zambia reducing stunting among children.
Scaling Up Nutrition National Coordinator Freddie Mubanga says it was important that companies dealing with foodstuffs and beverages design advertising messages that can help government combat malnutrition and not put profits as a priority.
Mr. Mubanga told ZANIS in an interview yesterday in Mpika that the problem of malnutrition was complex and any efforts initiated by different stakeholders should correlate and not contradict each other.
Mr. Mubanga who is also Head of Public Health and Community Nutrition at the commission observed that the business community was one big stakeholder whose adverts on food stuffs if not well designed and focused can worsen the problems of malnutrition.
He said giving communities consistent messages on the availability of rich nutrient dense foods both locally and affordably was cardinal in addressing the problems associated with malnutrition.
And Mr. Mubanga has pointed that over nutrition is becoming a problem which the country must be on the lookout of for. He said the rising cases of obesity among adults and children need to be taken seriously as these were leading to problems of hypertension, heart diseases and other non-communicable diseases.
Mr. Mubanga said it was important that stakeholders involved in nutrition activities continue to sensitize communities on proper dietary requirements so that it does not get out of control.
He said this is the reason the Commission is looking forward to having the National Food and Nutrition Act of 1967 which was only revised in 1975, be revisited and amended so that it responds to the current problems faced in the sector.
He said the commission is optimistic that once the Ministry of Health finishes the processes of repealing the act, issues of multi-sectoral approach, coordination and synergies among stakeholders in the area of nutrition will be strengthened.