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DepEd campaigns for Healthy Food in Schools

Billboard advertising a popular chips brand across a prominent university in Quezon City.

DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones batted for a healthy diet in schools for students, teachers and personnel of the education department.

This is in line with a March 17, 2017 Memorandum from DepEd seeking to promote healthy eating habits for all schools in the country. This would lead to long lasting benefits since fat laden, sugary and food with high sodium contents will no longer be made available in the schools.

According to the National Nutrition Survey conducted by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute on Filipino children with age ranges of 5 to 10 years old, 9.1% were overweight and 29.1% were underweight.

This is evidence of a gap in knowledge of good nutrition and also a sign that not all food sold in the schools give the nutrition needed by the students.

The Manila Archdiocesan and Parochial Schools Association (MAPSA) also endorses healthy and nutritious food in its canteens and schools. Therefore, no more softdrinks, powdered juice drinks, and chips are allowed to be sold and served in these private schools.

The Department of Health (DOH) also has its “canteen makeover” campaign in schools. DOH Asst. Secretary Dr. Eric Tayag cited the fact that most canteens serve these unhealthy snacks and food. He is also cognizant that parents themselves who are hampered by financial circumstances opt for the cheapest and most convenient food for the “baon” of their children with nutritional requirements coming a poor second. 

This issue and concern about school nutrition is best handled through a concerted effort among government institutions such as DepEd, DOPH and LGUs together with the parents who are also made aware of healthy nutrition habits for their children.

In the United States, the Institute of Medicine has recommended the changing of the meals served in the schools. These include low-fat milk, more grains and proper portions of the meals for students. It also advocates healthy living for all school personnel that include teachers and school staff.

The US Department of Agriculture also issued toolkits to serve as resource in formulating school meals.

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