School Meals

school_meals.jpgIn many parts of the world, children's diet continues to be inadequate right up to the adolescent years, when there are increased nutritional needs to support the growth spurt. What is essential for school-age children and adolescents is adequate diet rich in energy and micronutrients in both quantity and quality, as well as frequent deworking and if necessary micronutrient supplementation. In addition, the links between anemia, cognitive functions, and school performance are becoming more evident. Nutrient-rich meal programs offered through schools can eliminate short-term hunger and increase children's attentiveness at school. A comprehensive food-for-schooling program can also ensure that children who attend school are given food rations to bring home, offering economic incentives for poor families to release children from household or labor obligations so that they can attend school. In addition, locally-produced foods rather than imported food aid would be used for school feeding programs. Locally-produced food based ideally on locally produced staple crops complemented by fortified blended foods, vitamin, and mineral supplements ensure the provision of meals that are culturally acceptable as well as nutritionally balanced, and creates a steady market for local farmers' produce.

In the MV Sim, school meals increase children's caloric intake so that parents face a smaller burden in making sure their children consume enough calories to survive. Above subsistence levels, a higher caloric intake means children will have better health outcomes.

For more information, read:
May 7, 2008 | Panapress
UN poverty plan ignites mass school enrolments in Ghana