DOST-FNRI: Boost students’ nutrition to prepare them for full in-person classes
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Science and Technology-Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI) has called on schools, families, and other concerned agencies to boost the nutrition of students to better equip them for the full implementation of face-to-face classes nationwide.
Citing a recent Expanded National Nutrition Survey, DOST-FNRI director Dr. Imelda Angeles-Agdeppa said three out of 10 Filipino children are stunted or lacking in height which, she noted, makes them more vulnerable to COVID-19 and other diseases.
“With proper nutrition, meaning providing the children with the correct amount and types of foods, they will be shielded from frequent attacks of illnesses during the face-to-face classes,” she said.
She also pointed out that a National Nutrition Survey found that undernutrition remains prevalent among the population in rural areas and those in low-income households.
Although Agdeppa acknowledged that the nutritional status of preschool-aged children has already improved compared to its previous state, she said the developments remain slow in meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
But Agdeppa stressed that addressing child nutrition woes must not solely be left in the hands of the government.
“We need to call on parents, family members, teachers, teaching staff, and other influencers in a child’s life to impart the value of nutrition. […] As we transition to regular operations in schools nationwide, we enjoin all parents and health and nutrition stakeholders to be vigilant in keeping children’s good health and nutrition a focus of care,” she said.
“Our children and youth will only be able to maximize their education when they are healthy, and we put their future at stake by not fully realizing the importance of good nutrition,” she added.
Most schools across the country began their full implementation of face-to-face classes on November 2, the first time since blended or distance learning was implemented in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
READ: DepEd: 94% of schools in Metro Manila start full five-day face-to-face classes
The Department of Education (DepEd) said schools conducting full in-person classes should have a 100 percent room capacity and must be conducting classes five days a week.
Wearing face masks in classrooms is also now optional, as DepEd said it would adhere with the voluntary mask mandate of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
READ: It’s official: Wearing masks indoors, outdoors now voluntary
But this move stirred the public’s fears that optional masking would later lead to a surge in COVID-19 infections in schools. —Alyssa Joy Quevedo, trainee
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