EditorialRevive school feeding program

Revive school feeding program

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A recent survey revealed that one in five families in Sta. Catalina town have been skipping meals in the last two years due to extreme poverty.

This is not surprising, considering that Negros Oriental remains one of the poorest provinces in the country, with a poverty rate always higher than the national average.

But that is not all bad news. The good news is that the poverty incidence in Negros Oriental has gone down several notches from 50.1 percent in 2014 to 28.6 percent in 2023.

Negros Oriental in 2014 had a poverty incidence of 50.1 percent. In 2015, it decreased to 42.6. In 2017, the figure was further reduced at 32.7; and in 2023, it went further down to 28.6 percent. That’s almost a 50 percent improvement.

Dumaguete is an exception, though. While it is a component city of Negros Oriental, its economy is surging ahead with new businesses, thanks to the call centers that have become the major engine of growth here.

But the poverty rate is still taking its toll on the nutritional needs of families in the rural areas, especially the children.

Adequate nutrition is crucial for brain development and function. A balanced diet that includes essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals helps students stay alert and focused, enhancing their ability to learn, and retain information.

That is why local government units, especially in the identified impoverished areas of the Province, should have feeding programs for their school children, something that was introduced years ago by Gov. Herminio Teves but apparently discontinued by the succeeding administrations.

Studies have shown that providing free meals for students can improve attendance, and even level the playing field for children from low-income families by reducing barriers to good nutrition.

As educators, parents, and policymakers strive to optimize learning environments for children, understanding the intricate connection between nutrition and cognitive development becomes paramount.

 

 

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