Legarda Pushes for Mandatory Nutrition Program in SchoolsAugust 31, 2016
Senator Loren Legarda has filed a bill (Senate Bill No. 416) proposing mandatory child nutrition program in all public elementary schools and barangay day care centers in order to address the country’s worsening state of malnutrition.
Legarda pointed out that the country’s chronic malnutrition rate has increased from 30.3% in 2013 to 33.5 % in 2015 based on latest Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) data. Moreover, a study by the international organization Save The Children showed that 1 in 3 Filipino children suffers from stunting.
“Poor nutrition remains a huge problem in the Philippines which has one of the highest prevalence of malnourished and stunted children arising primarily from inadequate food intake. Undernourishment is largely preventable especially with early and effective interventions,” she stressed.
The measure seeks to improve child attendance and survival rates in day care centers and schools; to integrate basic knowledge of good nutrition including family nutrition practices in school curricula; to enhance physical, social, emotional, cognitive, psychological, spiritual, and language development of young children; and to enhance the role of public elementary schools and barangay day care centers as surrogate caregivers of children, among others.
SB No. 416, Legarda said, is a long-term, sustainable program that aims to address malnutrition through the institutionalization of a child nutrition program that will include complementary feeding, micronutrient supplementation, weighing and growth monitoring, deworming of children, and promotion of improved hygiene practices.
The proposed bill has a system for early identification, prevention, and intervention for developmental disorders and disabilities during the early childhood years.
“There must be a serious effort to tackle hunger and malnutrition among our school-aged children especially at the grassroots level. I filed this measure as a solution towards a well-nourished population,” Legarda concluded.