Article Number: PRJA96408878

Vol. 1 Issue 2, pp: (17-22), May 2016.
Article Number: PRJA96408878
Copyright ©2016
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Improving Maternal Nutrition in Nigeria: A Review

O.B. Oluwole (Ph.D)1*, A.A. Agboola1, J. Onyibe2, O.A. Adeyoju2

1Food Technology Department, Federal Institute of Industrial Research, 1, FIIRO Road, Cappa bus stop, Oshodi, Lagos Nigeria.

2Production, Analytical and Laboratory Management Department, Federal Institute of industrial Research, 1, FIIRO Road, Cappa bus stop, Oshodi, Lagos, Nigeria.

Corresponding author. Email:

 Received: February 26, 2016  Accepted: May 3, 2016  Published: May 6, 2016


Maternal mortality rates (MMR) are unacceptably high in Sub-Saharan Africa. In Nigeria for example, MMR have been reported to be 630 deaths per 100,000 live births, thus ranking Nigeria 11th country in the world with highest MMR, among 184 countries. Malnutrition has been identified as a key underlying cause for maternal deaths in Africa. Malnutrition pre-disposes women, particularly pregnant and lactating women, to various forms of health conditions such as increased risk of infection, anaemia, visual impairment, goitre among others. These in turn lead to gestational and postnatal complications such as obstructed labour, gestational diabetes, hypertensive disorders, haemorrhage and in fatal cases, death. Malnutrition also increases the risk of intra-uterine growth retardation (IUGR) and neural tube defect in the children born to these malnourished women. Environmental and economic conditions have huge impacts on the nutritional status of women in Sub-Saharan Africa; poverty in this population limits food choices, thus affecting their quality of diet and ultimately, nutrient absorption. Micronutrient malnutrition, also called hidden hunger, is the main form of malnutrition found among pregnant and lactating women in Africa, this coupled with undernutrition have severe implications on the well-being of these women. Research has however shown what works. Micronutrient supplementation and food-based strategies such as diet diversity, food fortification and biofortification have been reported in many studies as vehicles to combat the malnutrition scourge in Sub-Saharan Africa. This review aims to discuss the nutritional status of pregnant and lactating women in Nigeria; the different forms of malnutrition found within this population will be reviewed, with particular focus being on the food-based strategies to address them.

Key words: Biofortification, Dietary Diversification, Fortification, Micronutrient, Malnutrition, Nigeria, Pregnancy, Lactation.