Cuthbert Mukora of the Rural Enterprise Trust has asked the Zimbabwean government to intervene in the sale of unhealthy foods. These are said to include the likes of freezits, fizzy drinks and corn snacks better known as zappies near schools.
“As advocates for nutrition, we would like to remind policymakers and key decision-makers in the government, that everyone in the country has the right to adequate, safe, and nutritious food as articulated in the Constitution of Zimbabwe,” he said.
Mukora fumed that it is unacceptable that most school environments in the country are not supportive of the consumption of diversified and nutritious diets among adolescents.
Cuthbert also said vendors should sell healthier options like fruits and vegetables instead. He added that fruits and vegetables should also be more affordable to encourage consumption.
“Encouraging the consumption of fruits and vegetables in school environments is the chief solution to addressing the malnutrition challenge in our nation.” He said.
The United Nations General Assembly Resolution declared 2021 as the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables.
Cuthbert’s call comes after the World Children’s Report highlighted astounding stats.
- 46% of adolescents consume fast food at least once a week.
- Half of the adolescent girls in low income and rural settings eat fewer than 3 meals a day.
- Only 34% of school-going adolescents said they ate fruits.
- Only 21% eat vegetables less than once a day.
- While 42% admitted to having fizzy drinks at least once a day.
This risks going against the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations that adolescents should consume at least 400g of fruits and vegetables each day to reap from their health and nutrition attributes.