Monday, July 18, 2016

Bohol fights malnutrition...
Local milk now available 
in 31 school canteens 

TAGBILARAN CITY, July 15 (PIA)--With a noted dipping state of nutrition among Boholano kids, authorities here bring in Gatas sa Eskwelahan para sa Kabataan (Milk in schools for kids) program. 

And, in a country where 99% of the milk consumed is imported, here in Bohol, the program uses local dairy, according to Provincial Veterinarian Dr Stella Marie Lapiz at the Kapihan sa PIA Thursday.

The forum which was set for the Nutrition Month celebration in July, tackled about the state of nutrition among children in Bohol and the different ways local authorities are responding to the challenge. 

The local dairy are those milked from carabao and cows at the government institutions: Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) facility at the Ubay Stock Farm, the National Dairy Authority (NDA) in Calanggaman Ubay and the farmer adopters of the dairy production program, Dr. Lapiz explained. 

Since the start of operations, PCC and NDA have annually increased their milk production, now engaging farmers to look into dairy production too. 

Since 2010 to the present, we have now served 31 school canteens with choices of carabao and cow milk and its processed products, reported PCC through Guillerma Abayabay.

We hope to increase this with 10 more this year, adds Dr. Lapiz, who think that having milk in schools also help farmers earn more. 

Apart from introducing local dairy to schools to stop malnutrition, Abayabay said the program also helps farmers so their processed milk can be converted to cash through fair pricing.

In Bohol, the PCC and the NDA have successfully maintained milking breeds of carabao and cows, which they also lend out to farmers dairy animals as alternative income source.

Milk and dairy products provide the body its needed calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and protein; all of which are essential for healthy bone growth and development. 

The adequate consumption of milk and dairy from early childhood and throughout life can help to make the bones stronger and protect them against diseases like osteoporosis, which is a debilitating, brittle bone disorder, towards the later years in life. 

With the changing lifestyle, many think that kids in school nowadays tend to have far less time to exercise and have preoccupations that do not necessarily stretch the body or break sweat, possibly making them weaker. 

And just as the need to campaign for kids nutrition and health grow, more and more instant food, artificial flavors and those that clearly lack in nutritional content flood the market and invade televisions. 

In schools, where fighting malnutrition has become institutionalized, other than this milk supplementation, supplemental feeding programs for pre-school and elementary kids also happen, Provincial Nutrition Council representative Honey Lyn Danila shared. 

The schools however have a varied menu of options to choose. 

Nutritionist Ardin Abrea, who sits at the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist, explained that they have requested parents in feeding programs to opt for the easily available ingredients as well as choose those with high nutritional value. 

And as the need for nutrition education pops, the Department of Social Welfare and Development through its Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Family Development sessions put a prime to nutrition and health as leading topics for discussion. 

Even then, private groups also join in the fray with their own organized school feeding programs, vitamins supplementation and deworming events, Provincial Nutrition Council officer Juliet Manliguez added. 

At this, nutrition officials in Bohol still urge parents to still prepare the more nutritional kind of food over the easy to prepare food but are inferior in body building value. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)

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