BUJUMBURA October 17th (ABP) – The Light University of Bujumbura, through its health and nutrition research laboratory, organized last week in Bujumbura, a public conference under the theme “Food and Health”, as part of the celebration of World Food Day celebrated on October 16 each year.
During this conference, the teacher-researcher from the University of Burundi, Mr. Robert Muvunyi, having presented on healthy and balanced nutrition for human well-being, specified that, according to the world organization of health, a healthy and balanced diet is one that includes three food groups. These are building foods rich in proteins, strength foods rich in carbohydrates and lipids and protective foods including fruits and vegetables, adding that these must be consumed in sufficient quantity and quality.
Mr. Muvunyi also pointed out that for a regime to be qualified as balanced, three conditions must be met. Carbohydrates must provide between 50 and 55% of total energy intake, lipids must provide 30 to 35% of total energy and proteins 10 to 15% of total energy must be provided. It further showed that there are vulnerable groups who need a healthy and balanced diet. He cited infants, young children, adolescents, pregnant women, lactating women as well as the elderly.
Concerning the feeding of infants and young children, researcher Muvunyi said that the initiation of breastfeeding must be done in the first hour after birth and that there must be exclusive breastfeeding during the six first months. For him, breast milk cannot be produced by any artificial means and that it is unique in its composition and function. Breast milk is beneficial for infants. It contains balanced nutrients and digestive enzymes, which are easy for the child to digest and change over time to meet the changing needs of the growing baby. Mr. Muvunyi also revealed that breastfeeding is also beneficial to the lactating mother. It plays a contraceptive role by reducing the risk of developing iron deficiency anemia and strengthens the feeling of attachment between a mother and her child.
Researcher Muvunyi recommended never serving honey and peanuts to infants under one year old, as these can cause infant botulism and fatal allergies in infants, he explained. Responding to the question of complementary foods to favor in infants, he suggested introducing vegetables, including green beans, spinach and carrots, at the end of the 4th month, without forgetting crushed and well-mixed fruits after vegetables from end of this month. Regarding the diet of adolescents in Burundi, researcher Muvunyi advised them to favor foods rich in iron such as meats and green vegetables, those rich in calcium such as pasteurized milk and cheese, foods rich in vitamins D such as eggs as well as protein-rich foods like eggs and peas.