The cost of maintaining a healthy diet for Nigerians has seen a significant surge of 66% within a year, with Ekiti, Lagos, and Osun emerging as states with the highest expenses per adult in February, according to the latest Cost of Healthy Diet report.

The report disclosed that Ekiti, Lagos, and Osun recorded the highest daily costs of a healthy diet per adult, reaching N1,295, N1,195, and N1,184 respectively. On a national scale, the average cost stood at N938 per adult per day in February 2024.

Released recently in Abuja, the report highlighted that the average cost of a healthy diet was notably higher in the southwest region at N1,157 per adult per day, followed by the southeast region at N1,077 per day. Conversely, the North-West region reported the lowest average cost at N723 per adult per day.

Further analysis revealed that Katsina State had the lowest cost of a healthy diet at N673, trailed by Sokoto and Zamfara States at N714 and N720 respectively.

The Cost of Healthy Diet (CoHD) indicator, as defined by the report, encompasses the least expensive combination of locally available items that align with globally consistent food-based dietary guidelines, while considering physical and economic access to such diets.

To compute the CoHD indicator, the report relies on Retail Food Prices, Food Composition Data, and Healthy Diet Standards.

Animal-source foods emerged as the most expensive food group recommendation to meet in February, comprising 38% of the total CoHD while providing 13% of total calories. Fruits and vegetables, despite accounting for only 7% and 5% of total calories respectively, were the most expensive food groups in terms of price per calorie.

The report also noted a faster rise in the CoHD compared to general inflation and food inflation in recent months, signaling potential challenges in access, availability, and affordability of healthy diets.

These findings have significant policy implications, urging collaboration among stakeholders including policymakers, researchers, and civil society actors to address food security concerns effectively. Future research incorporating income levels is also recommended to gauge the proportion of the population unable to afford a healthy diet.

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