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Negros’ school feeding program a boon

NEGROS OCCIDENTAL (PIA6) – A study of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DoST) has proven that school feeding program and sponsored ones can address hunger and improve a child’s school performance.

Coming to school on empty stomachs compromises the productivity of children, as they tend to become sluggish, less attentive and less participative, Anna Rita M. Ramirez of the FNRI-DoST said.

School performance may be affected over time if this situation becomes protracted, she added.

A retrospective evaluation of School Feeding Programs (SFP) implemented by a private renewable energy company in 24 partner-schools for the school year 2012 – 2013 in five host communities was conducted by the FNRI-DoST from July to August, 2013.

The SFPs were evaluated in terms of potential contribution of foods served to recommended energy and protein intakes, nutritional status and mean quarter grade average as compared with schools without the feeding program.

Depending on meals served and duration of feeding, results showed that the SFP had the potential to increase energy, protein and iron intakes by as much as 41.6, 24.6 and 31.1 percent, respectively.

By the end of the school term, a decrease in the prevalence of underweight by 9.5 percentage points among SFP participants, while a 5.1 percentage point increase in the prevalence of underweight among non-SFP participants, were observed.

The sustainability of the school feeding program appears high with the strong support of the school and the parent-volunteers in the private company’s SFP.