Nutrition in school meals should be paid special attention

Nutrition in school meals should receive special attention, experts said during a working session in early December with Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam.

Illustrative image. Source: VNA

At the event, experts said that the national nutrition strategy for the 2021-2030 period should integrate nutrition improvement with settlement of several issues, including safe water, environment, and air quality, reported VNA.

They said, nutrition in school meals should be paid special attention, adding it is necessary to raise awareness of parents, teachers and students of the school milk programme, particularly in rural and mountainous localities.

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam ordered competent authorities to outline specific measures to mobilise resources to carry out the national nutrition strategy during 2021-2030 with a view to improve the Vietnamese people’s well-being and stature.

He asked the Ministry of Health to ramp up implementation of the national health programme, which sets three goals of promoting a healthy diet and lifestyle with appropriate nutrition and increased physical activity to improve Vietnamese people’s stature and health, raising public awareness of behavioural change to protect health and prevent health-related risks, and providing constant and long-term primary healthcare services to reduce the burden of illness on the community and enhance quality of life.

Dam requested international organisations in Vietnam such as the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), World Health Organisation (WHO), and World Bank to continue coordinating with the health ministry, sectors and localities to comprehensively promote nutrition for the Vietnamese people, contributing to realising the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

According to the health ministry’s report, implementation of the national nutrition strategy during 2011-2020 attained remarkable marked outcomes. The rate of malnutrition among Vietnamese children decreased significantly over the last decade, from 46.9 percent in 1994 to 29.3 percent in 2010 and under 20 percent in 2020. Meanwhile, the average height of male adolescent is around 1.68 metres, higher than the target of 1.67 metres set in the national strategy.

The National Institute of Nutrition in October has launched a “nutrition and development week” in a bid to raise public awareness of proper nutrition for sustainable development. Photo: VNA

Saying the achievements in nutrition improvement have contributed to ensure social security, Dam took the occasion to thank international organisations and foreign countries like Japan, Canada and Ireland for supporting Vietnam to better nutrition for its people.

However, he voiced his concern over the nutritional deficiency in mountainous and remote areas and those prone to natural disasters, food safety issue, the rising number of children with obesity in urban areas, and increasing health problems related to nutrition such as cardiovascular diseases.

Mai Pham