Tuesday, December 04, 2007

3.67 million Filipino kids malnourished -- officials

By Kristine L. Alave -- Inquirer

Eat your vegetables and do better in school.

This was the message of officials from the education and health departments on Monday as they launched a food awareness program to encourage schoolchildren to eat nutritious meals and not junk food.

Some 3.67 million children in the country, or about a quarter of the total number of students in the elementary level, are malnourished, officials said.

The Department of Education and the Department of Health, along with Nissin-Universal Robina Corp., kicked off the project at the Eulogio Rodriguez Elementary School in Mandaluyong City.

The initiative is part of the joint campaign of the two departments to inculcate healthy eating habits among schoolchildren.

Every year, the DepEd and the DoH, along with a private partner, conduct a school-to-school nationwide campaign that seeks to institutionalize nutrient supplementing and feeding activities.

Health Undersecretary Ethelyn Nieto talked to elementary students about the benefits of eating fruits, vegetables and doing regular exercises.

According to Nieto, the junk food that most children eat contains too much sugar and other chemicals that lead to lifestyle diseases such as cancer and diabetes.

“That’s why the older generations live longer. They didn’t have junk food,” she told the students.

Renee Yabut, Nissin-Universal product manager, said her company and the government agencies would bring health experts and nutritionists to the various schools to discuss food intake with the children

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