This comes under the school meal project jointly launched by the National Institute of Nutrition and the municipal Departments of Education and Training, after a recent survey revealed that the current food rations for primary students are short of dietary fiber and vitamins.
The school meals have been selected based on such criteria as healthy and balanced diets, preparation with a wide range of local food, and reducing the proliferation of processed food, sugar and salt.
The National Institute of Nutrition will give support to primary schools in nutrition education through the “Three minutes to change awareness” programme.
School meals have crucial roles in improving students’ physical fitness and mental health, the institute said, noting that some developed countries like Japan, the UK and the US have mapped out specific regulations on nutrition and food hygiene standards for students’ meals.
In Vietnam, fine-tuning children’s nutrition through rational school meals is a significant content in the National Nutrition Strategy and comprehensive plan on developing Vietnamese people’s physical strength and stature for the 2011-2030 period.
According to the institution, Vietnam is facing a double nutrition burden as the country continues to record high malnutrition rates in rural areas, while the number of obese children continues rising in the cities. Moreover, a shortage of micronutrients is common in both rural and urban children.
By studying children’s nutritional status in six cities and provinces accross Vietnam, the Southeast Asian Nutrition Survey showed that anaemia among primary students was 11.8%, vitamin A deficiency 7.7% and vitamin D deficiency ranging from 46% to 58%.