Nutrition Improvement Program for Rural Compulsory School Students Benefits 350 Million Chinese Students | Kathmandu Grandstand

By Wu Yue, People’s Daily

The pupils have grown taller and stronger since the nutrition imA promotion program for rural students in compulsory education has been launched, said Li Ming, principal of an elementary school in Xiji County, Guyuan, northwest China’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.

The program provides students with a nutritious and delicious lunch at school and has ended the days when some students had to travel miles home for lunch, the principal noted.

By the end of 2021, the Compulsory Education Rural Student Nutrition Improvement Program has benefited a total of 350 million students.

According to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the average heights of male and female students in regions where the program is implemented increased by 4.2 centimeters and 4.1 centimeters from 2012 to 2021, and increases of weight were 3.5 kilograms and 3.3 kilograms, respectively. These numbers were all higher than the average among all rural students across the country.

Only 2.5 percent of rural students in central and western China were stunted in 2021, down 5.5 percentage points from 2012, the center said.

Apart from increasing the standard of subsidy and the quality of meals, the program also encourages schools in the pilot areas to build better cafeterias. By the end of 2021, 76% of schools were providing food under the program to students in school cafeterias, and that number was nearly 90% among schools in pilot counties nationwide.

Improving working mechanisms and ensuring food security are the main priorities. Qiubei County, Wenshan Zhuang and Miao Autonomous Prefecture in southwest China’s Yunnan Province has launched a digital cafeteria management platform to provide better food for students.

The platform is joined by the local education and sports office, schools and food suppliers. It controls all procedures, including verification of supplier certificates, purchasing, food safety and financial management.

Now, local authorities in Yunnan province are trying to set up online monitoring and management systems for the whole process, using electronic scales, facial recognition, pesticide residues, the Internet of Things and big data, for a more targeted management of the nutrition improvement program.

Science popularization activities have been launched across China in recent years to improve public knowledge of nutritional science and guide teachers and students to develop science-based eating habits.

By launching training courses on nutrition improvement program and developing an electronic dietitian system, the Ministry of Education and the National Health Commission have effectively improved the capacity of primary level staff to prepare nutritional diets.

The program to improve the nutrition of rural pupils in compulsory education has been praised by the international community. According to a survey launched by the World Food Program in 169 countries, China is one of the few countries in the world to provide nutritious meals to middle and primary school students, and ranks among the best in terms of supply volume. .

The nutrition improvement program has played an important role in promoting equity in education, promoting poverty reduction and implementing the rural revitalization strategy, and has a solid foundation for improving Chinese people’s health, strengthening education and advancing the Healthy China Initiative.

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