Rey Anthony Chiu
TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, June 29, 2012 (PIA) – The Department of Education (DepEd) continues serving free breakfast for 8,222 pre and primary schoolers in a bid to get to the 70% undernourished kids in Bohol this year.
Bohol pilots the Breakfast Feeding Program which DepEd implements for 160 days or roughly 8 months, said sources at the DepEd.
At the recent Kapihan sa PIA tackling July as National Nutrition Month Celebration, DepEd’s Dr. Aida Calamba told listeners that the move is because within these ages, school authorities note a high drop-out rate.
She also added that breakfast is a crucial meal most kids miss to catch up for school, or their walk to school can easily use up the nutrition intake and thus would struggle with hunger to survive the entire morning class sessions.
A healthy person learns fast and tends to be more productive as he does not tire quickly. When taken in a larger context, a healthy population is also generally more productive and bids well for the economy.
Started in 1997, the Breakfast Feeding Program is a government attempt to get to the 70% of the malnourished kids and ascertain 80% of their attendance and class participation, Dr. Calamba explained.
The program also hopes to be sustained as the government engages parents’ cooperation and participation in preparing the nutritious food in the menu.
“We also hope that parents pick up the habit of preparing similar food at the home table, to make sure that kids get sustained nutrition boost even when they are out of the school,” Dr. Calamba shared.
She noted that kids lose weights during vacations, a fact that may link to low nutritional value of food at home, or to an excess of activities that sap up the kids energies.
She said while the government provides the funds for the supplemental feeding program, it is in line with the 2012 Nutrition Month Theme “Pagkain ng gulay ugali-in, araw-araw itong ihain”.
The supplemental feeding menu puts in a basic vegetable which is malunggay, adds Angeles Bigcal, a nurse who is among the 22 nurses DepEd hired to attend to the school health service and nutrition education needs.
At the radio forum on air, Bigcal who is nurse in charge at the Bohol Division Office said the feeding program also encourages the establishment of school vegetable gardens in as much as the feeding ingredients promote locally grown vegetables. (30)