Legarda Pushes for Child Nutrition Program in Schools to Address Malnutrition

July 27, 2013

Senator Loren Legarda has called for the establishment of a child nutrition program in all public schools nationwide to address malnutrition, which affects at least half a million elementary students.

Legarda noted that statistics from the Department of Education (DepEd) showed that 562,262 pupils in kindergarten and elementary levels (Grades 1 to 6) enrolled in public schools in the previous school year were assessed as “severely wasted”.

“We hope that there will be better results in the DepEd’s assessment of our schoolchildren for this school year. We urge parents to have their children bring nutritious snacks to school, but the government needs to establish an innovative complementary feeding program that would ensure access to food supplements which will improve nutritional status of schoolchildren,” she said.

In this regard, Legarda re-filed the proposed Child Nutrition Law.

The bill seeks to improve the health status of schoolchildren through a system-wide plan to implement a nutrition and health program in schools and barangay day care centers, consisting of a complementary feeding program and may also include other nutrition-related activities such as micronutrient supplementation, weighing and growth monitoring, deworming of children, and promotion of improved hygiene practices.

“This intervention is urgent, as undernourishment is largely preventable. We must prioritize the needs of children who are most affected because they are the most vulnerable components of society,” said Legarda.