Marikina revives ‘Nutribun’ for Kinder, Grade 1 pupils

MANILA To ensure that the health and nutrition needs of its 21,000 kindergarten and Grade 1 pupils in public schools are met, the Marikina City government revived the Nutribun program.

Gawa ang ating tinapay sa malunggay, kalabasa, itlog, at arina.Ka-partner nito ay gatas. Ang nutritional content ng mga ito ay angkop sa lumalaking mga bata (Our bread is made of malunggay, squash, eggs and flour. It comes with milk. The nutritional content of these ingredients are appropriate for growing children), Marikina City Mayor Marcelino Teodoro said during the launch of the program on Tuesday.

After 120 days, Teodoro said the children will be weighed and their health condition and performance in school will be assessed.

The fund for the Nutribun program, he said, will come from the Special Nutrition Fund of the city government.

We want all children in the city to be healthy and happy by providing them proper nutrition. That's why I came up with (the idea) reviving the Nutribun program for 21,000 Kinder and Grade 1 public school children, Teodoro said.

He said they have monitored cases of undernutrition among public school students, paving the way for an intervention, which is the Nutribun.

We found out na ang ibang bata ay walang mga baon kaya wala silang makain na masustansya (that some children do not have anything to eat so they cannot eat anything nutritious), Teodoro said.

Ang malnutrition ay nakakaapekto sa performance ng mga bata sa paaralan. Kaya dapat talaga itong malunasan (Malnutrition affects the children's performance in school, so this must be addressed)," he added.

According to the local chief executive, the city government is eyeing zero malnutrition in the city next year.

We believe that the Nurtibun program is the key to attaining this goal, he said.

Between 1968 and 1970, Nutribun, the bread envisioned as a way to fight malnutrition, was developed by a team of nutritionists and agrarian experts at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

The bread is fortified with nutrients and was designed around a base product that could be modified using any number of locally available substances.

Malnutrition rate among children went up during the administration of former president Ferdinand Marcos, prompting the government to take advantage of the US Food for Peace Program, and begin its own five-year nutrition program in 1971, which was later called Operation Timbang.

In 1972, USAID started providing the government with thousands of loaves of Nutribun aside from the hundreds of tons of dried milk powder.

Because of the decreasing rate of malnutrition in the country, the Nutribun program was gradually phased out. The final batches of bread were distributed in the mid-1980s. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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