Cost of healthy diet highest in South-west in February – NBS – Premium Times

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The average Cost of a Healthy Diet (CoHD) was highest in the South-west zone at N1,157 per day in February 2024, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has said.

The statistics office in its report titled “Cost of a Healthy Diet February 2024” published on its website, said the National average Cost of a Healthy Diet was N938 per adult per day in February 2024.

The bureau said in Nigeria, CoHD is the minimum cost of foods needed to meet international recommendations defined in the Healthy Diet Basket (HDB), a globally relevant set of criteria that captures similarities across most national food-based dietary guidelines (FBDG).

It said the HDB was created as a comparable standard to calculate and compare the cost and affordability of healthy diets across countries; the HDB is most relevant for countries where there is not yet a quantified national FBDG, like Nigeria.

“The National Average Cost of a Healthy Diet was N938 per adult per day in February 2024. At the State level Ekiti, Lagos and Osun States recorded the highest cost with N1295, N1195, and N1184 respectively. Katsina accounted for the lowest costs with N673, followed by Sokoto and Zamfara with N714 and N720, respectively.

“Lastly, at the Zonal level, the average CoHD was highest in the South West Zone at N1157 per day, followed by the South East Zone at N1077 per day. The lowest average Cost of a Healthy diet was recorded in the North West Zone with N723 per day,” NBS said.

Cost share by food group

According to the bureau, animal-source foods were the most expensive food group recommendation to meet in February, accounting for 38 per cent of the total CoHD to provide 13 per cent of the total calories.

It said fruits and vegetables were the most expensive food groups in terms of price per calorie; they accounted for 12 per cent and 14 per cent, respectively, of total CoHD while providing only 7 per cent and 5 per cent of total calories in the Healthy Diet Basket.

It added that Legumes, Nuts and Seeds were the least-expensive food group on average, at 6 per cent of the total cost.

In recent months, the statistics office said the CoHD has risen faster than general inflation and food inflation.

However, it noted the CoHD and the food CPI are not directly comparable; the CoHD includes fewer items and is measured in Naira per day, while the food CPI is a weighted index.

“The food CPI increased approximately 4 per cent between January and February 2024, while CoHD increased by 9 per cent,” it said.

The NBS said in February 2024, Ekiti (Urban) had the most expensive Cost of a Healthy Diet at N1359 per adult per day, while the least expensive location was Katsina (Urban) with CoHD at N625.

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It said while there were similarities in the least-cost item in February (e.g. Bitter leaf, Avocado Pear & Soya Beans), the cost per food was different in these locations because of underlying price differences.

“Most of the food groups had different least-cost items; for example, garri white was the most expensive starchy staple in Ekiti (Rural), compared with Guinea corn (Sorghum) white grains in Katsina (Urban).”

The NBS noted that the Cost of a Healthy Diet provides important information about food access, a key aspect of food security, which is useful for government, civil society and development partners, the private sector, and researchers.

For instance, it said where the Cost of a Healthy Diet is high, it is possible to identify which least-cost items and food groups are driving the high cost.

Stakeholders can identify supply challenges in specific foods or food groups to be addressed, for example with improved production, distribution, or market access.

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“These results can also foster collaboration among a wide range of stakeholders, such as policymakers, researchers and civil society actors that focus on food security, to devise strategies that tackle access, availability, and affordability of healthy diet effectively,” it said.

The report said the retail food price data used in this analysis is collected by the NBS monthly from 10,534 informants spread across the country, from urban and rural outlets in each state and FCT.

“NBS collects these prices routinely for monitoring inflation, including prices of over 200 retail food items. Nearly 150 of these food items are potentially included in a healthy diet and the price data for these items are used for the computation of the CoHD,” the report said.

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