What is nutrition and why is it important?

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, “progress in reducing hunger and
malnutrition has been unacceptably slow and uneven. The prevalence of those suffering
undernourishment has declined, but remains unacceptably high, affecting over 800 million people,” mostly in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.
In this part of the e-discussion on nutrition, we explore what nutrition is through:

  • An introductory document; and
  • Definitions.

After exploring these documents, here are some questions for you to focus on for this part of the discussion:

  • Why do you think it is important to talk about nutrition?
  • What has been your experience with broadcasting about nutrition?
  • What are the ways in which you have explained the concept of nutrition to your listeners? What have you noticed from your interactions with farmers about farmers’ understanding of nutrition?
  • What’s the most difficult part of reporting and broadcasting on nutrition? Do you think it should be talked about more? Why?

Nelly thanks for coming up with e-discussion, after leading a nutrition radio programming in Malawi, I have a lot to share and I cant wait to share. Nutrition is not just eating any food in any quantity, its about quality and right proportion of food. The communities we worked with, there were some taboos for example a pregant woman should not take eggs because a baby that will be born will not have hair. More later.

Posted by: Sandra Mensah 2 hours ago in Health & Fitness, Lifestyle, Local News, News, Opinion, Social & Education, Uncategorized Leave a comment


Children being our future leaders must be properly fed and well catered for. Failure to feed them will lead to malnourishment or malnutrition.

This is a condition that results from consuming a diet in which the required food nutrients are insufficient to regulate the body processes and metabolism which usually causes health problems. This is sometimes termed as under nutrition.

The development and future of a child starts right from pregnancy. Therefore every expectant mother must take good care of themselves by taking well balanced diets in order to stay healthy as well as the foetus or unborn baby . This is because if malnutrition or under nutrition occurs during pregnancy or either before a child turns two years of age, it may result to permanent problems with physical and mental development.

Extreme under nutrition known as starvation may result in symptoms such as short height, thin body poor energy levels and swollen legs and sometimes abdomen pain. Most malnourished people often get infections and are frequently cold.

Also, lack of breast feeding may contribute to numerous infectious diseases such as, gastroenteritis, pneumonia, malaria and measles. Combating malnutrition especially in children is a great achievement and development. But this can be achieved if we adhere to breast feeding our babies exclusively since exclusive breast feeding help reduce the risk of nutritional deficiency in children as well as child mortality.

In adults, taken in balance diet can help reduce the risk of contacting ailments like, stroke, poor sight conditions, high blood pressure and other related diseases. How do you describe malnutrition?

The kesmi news family sees it to be an enemy not just a canker to society. But an enemy today may be a friend tomorrow and he who fight and run today lives to fight another day.

Therefore, there is the need to fight massively if not to conquer but reduce the rate of malnutrition in our society. Thus, taming the mal to better, this will make it a better -nutrition instead of mal -nutrition.

Malnutrition can be eradicated if we make it a corporate responsibility to feed our society well. Because together we can drive malnutrition away. Others may say they eat just to satisfy their hunger so there isn’t any need to waste money on food which I see to be archaic. Since we eat not because we are starving, We eat for a purpose, we eat to live but not live to eat.

Let’s not fold our arms whiles relaxing and watch on while malnutrition is assassinating our pregnant mothers and unborn brothers and sisters and our society as a whole. Let’s not allow malnutrition to kill our future how beautiful will the world be if we could be free from the likes of BIRD FLU and EBOLA, malaria, diarrhea cholera, child motility, . AWAKE! ARISE! And be ALERT! To kick Malnutrition Away.

Source: kesmifmonline.com

Nowadays the question of what to feed is responded. But the main problem damaging lots of generation not responded yet is when and how to feed. 'Many children are damaged by diseases related to lack of qualified nutrition. Here amazingly the main problem is not poverty or lack of food rather lack of awareness on how to have a healthy nutrition is the main concern. Therefore, this discussion will be helpful on empowering broadcasters in order to work with enough awareness on nutrition.

As a reporter it seems so obvious to go on air and start telling people about nutrition, its like they will switch off the radio with that perception that they already know these things but with the coming in of other non governmental organizations that deal with agriculture, some farmers are coming up to show interest. the good example is where i come from, Mchinji, Malawi, the district is mostly known of farming various crops but you see, children still suffering from malnutrition though their parents have enough at home.


My name is Monica Matumbi and from Malawi. I am a radio broadcaster and my target audience is a farmer. Farmers brings food on our tables so we have to recognise them for their everyday effort in making us live.
Without farmers, no food on the table, and without food, no life!
Well, my type of food on table is rice with chambo fish and any type of vegetable. I like deeply fried chambo or sometimes boiling it slowly so to make sure every little part is utilised properly.

Nutrition is having a balanced meal with all the important food groups. Without proper nutrition your health will be in shambles and if its a child, brain development depend on proper nutrition. If a child is malnourished then in the future that child will have difficulties in health as well as in school, this will contribute the child to be a slow learner in class and everything!

Thank you Nelly for this topic.

Hello Sandra, Daniel, Wezzie and Monica

Your posts are noted in this forum. We will concentrate more on this topic next week and we have an expert that will be giving more information and responding to whatever questions you might have.

Why not join the icebreaker forum, introduce yourselves and share a bit about how your dinner table looks like. We are waiting to hear from you.


Hello everyone,

This week we are discussion about what is nutrition and why is it important. Congratulations to those that have already shared their opinions on this. I am sharing with you some documents that our nutrition expert Joyce Kinabo @kinabonutrition developed specifically for this discussion. One of the documents is an introduction into nutrition and another a glossary on nutrition terms.

Click on the following links to read more:

farm radio nutrition intro_final.docx (207.1 KB)
farm radio nutritionglossary_final.docx (16.0 KB)

Please share your view in this forum afterwards. Use the following questions as a guide to your contribution:

  • Why do you think it is important to talk about nutrition?
  • What has been your experience with broadcasting about nutrition?
  • What are the ways in which you have explained the concept of nutrition to your listeners?
  • What have you noticed from your interactions with farmers about farmers’ understanding of nutrition?
  • What’s the most difficult part of reporting and broadcasting on nutrition? Do you think it should be talked about more? Why?


hello everyone according to me when i look our society specially in rural areas most people r got luck of nutrition. as they told me they didn’t know about nutrition plus they have not money to buy different types of food . what is your opinion? everyone?

I moved a post to an existing topic: Introduction and Icebreaker: Tell us what a typical meal at your table looks like

Here in Ethiopia nowadays the integrated effort of different stakeholders to improve the productivity of farmers is fruitful.Currently, most Ethiopian farmers are able to feed themselves twice a day. There are high technology users and market oriented farmers here and there. They are planting market demanding cereals fruits and vegetables. But the main problem is they don’t have highlight on how to provide healthy nutrition yet.
A year before we have broadcasted successive 16 programs concerning on promoting and practical actions of the newly emerged Quality Protein Maize with a fruitful support of Farm Radio International.
I was participated as a data collector, script writer, producer as well as presenter of the programs. We have introduced our listeners issues:
what makes healthy nutrition?
what is the content which found on the domestically produced cereals, fruits and and vegetables? And we have invited nutrition experts defining the nutritional content of maize and protein deficiency of locally produced maize also we have stated clearly what Quality Protein Maize makes different. After 16 week broadcast time Tigray Agriculture Office had noticed that farmers’ demand of Quality Protein Maize became above the supply provided.But the problem not solved is that most farmers supply their products to markets than feeding their child . The awareness is not developed yet. This indicates that restless effort is forward for Ethiopian agricultural journalists forward. Therefore, this online discussion will be helpful to save the life of millions of Ethiopian child damaging by malnutrition. I hope fruitful discussion Thank you

What is Nutrition? By George Mwamodo, Kenya

The subject is huge and can arguably draw diverse definitions for various discussions. From my understanding as layperson in this field, nutrition is the process of supplying the body with the required supplements to aid its growth and good health. The body needs carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and lipids for a well functional metabolism. These supplements must also be adequate to meet the body’s well being. All these intakes need to be in the right proportions so that the body is holistically developed. The pysique as an institution also has the mind and the spirit. All these must be well taken of by what we take as daily foods. The body has its own peculiar way of disposing of any extras one might have forced into it and only what is sufficient is run through the system for its good maintenance.
This means that our food intake is not to fill the belly but to make sure that what we put on the table has all the nutrients and parts the body requires for its good health and steady growth.

Dear Busi, I am George Mwamodo from Kenya.

Balance diet is a requirement by the body for its continued steady and healthy growth. This is to enableit overcome any challenges that might be posed by other factors like diseases. Many are malnourished not because they are poor but for lack of awareness. But we need to look at this with so much caution. Indeed there are many out there who are not able to access right foods because of poverty. But if we can know what we require in our bodies, then every homestead will try its best to utilise the little spaces (compounds) to grow foods that are nutritional to the body. The African thinking is hinged on quantity and not quality. This is what we need to change from. We can live well yet inexpensively. It is just to understand what we need for a healthy living and not for eating much.

This is so true George and important. When we eat, we do not eat to just fill up. Whatever we eat should play a specif role in our bodies and that is why we have to have a balanced meal. The question is what is a balanced meal, how can a lay person know that their meals are balanced.

Dear participants,
There are really interesting comments about this topic and it is encouraging to see people share with us their thoughts on nutrition, what it means and how they tackle it in their programming.
I wanted to draw your attention some comments made by some of your francophone colleagues, on the French version of this discussion on nutrition:
@ alain_georges
“…I will say that when we talk about nutrition with people around us, we talk about life in fact. In other words, this simply means that we give specific pieces of information to an individual to help him or her remain in good health. Considering the following definition: “Nutrition is the science that studies the effects of food – and the nutrients in food – on human health. Nutrition also studies how certain diseases and conditions may be caused by dietary factors such as poor diets,” discussing this issue helps us provide radio listeners with better tools. When I take a look at my career of young journalist, which I started at Noun Community Radio as a trainee, I am amazed by the lack of special programs on this topic. This situation may be explained by the lack of information, as well as by the lack of interest in the subject. Yet, diseases presented in the introductory document are widespread. Nevertheless, I think that a discussion should be convened between populations and social stakeholders in order to grasp their understanding of nutrition issues, balanced diets, and other themes. Following that, they should be advised on the subject, and relevant authorities should be asked to provide help to this effect…”

@ seydoucamara

“I agree with Alain’s idea regarding the holding of discussions between populations and social stakeholders, but I think above all that, as journalists, we must play an important role in increasing public awareness because we have RADIO, which is a means of mass communication. I’m in charge of a health show at our radio station, called Radio communautaire du cercle. I produce programs on nutrition with physicians and nutritionists from our various health centres. I think malnutrition really affects children under five years. Based on the different programs we produced, we have noticed a slight behavioural change, but there is still a lot to do in order to help more people understand the impacts of this problem. I am sad to tell you that, according to our doctors, malnutrition is the second cause of death in my region (Sikasso, Mali) after malaria. I think this is worrying and that time has come for everyone to start doing something since lives are at stake. Campaigns on malnutrition control could be organized using awareness-raising caravans…”

What are you thoughts on this comments raised by your French broadcasting colleagues?

I would also be love to have @kinabonutrition and @Bibi’s comments on some of the issues raised by participants in this discussion thus far. Participants: please don’t hesitate to ask our nutrition subject matter specialists questions, if you have any specific questions.

Dear Team.

After reading about Nutrition, i hereby embark on answering the questions as put up by Nelly. This is as follows:-

Qn 1. Why do you think it is important to talk about nutrition? Because nutrition in simple terms is what makes up good health. And good health is said to come from essential foods which the body requires to give good health. The foods have to contain the required nutrients like; carbohydrates which are are got in foods like maize, rice and potatoes. These provide energy to the body. Proteins found in fish, meat and insects do contribute to good functioning of the body and vitamins which include all other nutrients are essential for good health and body. These however, have to be given in a balanced diet in order for the body to get what it requires. Therefore, nutrition is important for people’s health.

Qn 2. What has been your experience with broadcasting about nutrition? I see that many broadcasters require informative approaches to nutrition so as to be able to inform the public better. Real experts on nutrition are not so much out to educate the public on this. This beat is mostly highlighted by traditional herbalists in Uganda. They are informed, but some broadcasters are lacking balance between herbal and conventional expertise/ Nutritionists knowledge.

Qn 3. What are the ways in which you have explained the concept of nutrition to your listeners? I have explained a balanced diet as being essential. What have you noticed from your interactions with farmers about farmers’ understanding of nutrition? They sound comfortable feeding on their staple foods without any problem.

Qn 4. What’s the most difficult part of reporting and broadcasting on nutrition? People think you are introducing expensive and luxurious way of feeding. Do you think it should be talked about more? Yes Why? Because people have to be informed and understand the importance of nutrition, and also to break the chains of culture that bar women for instance from eating eggs or chicken and yet they need this for good health.

I agree with you Sandra, it is high time we do something to eradicate malnutrition which is the underlying cause of all these other diseases you have mentioned in your comment. When we address malaria, diarrhoea we actually try to scratch the surface and not the core of the problem.

Alain and Seydou as journalists what weapons do you need to be able to help us in this fight against malnutrition?