Curbing malnutrition in school

Created on Monday, 20 January 2014 Published Date

“Goodbye malnutrition”.

Simeon Ayuda Elementary School (SAES) in San Vicente, Liloan, Cebu will soon say goodbye on malnutrition with the decrease in their school’s prevalence rate. The Gulayan sa Paaralan (GPP) of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in coordination with Dept. of Education (DepEd) was a means to curb this long-overdue problem among schoolchildren.



Based on DepEd-7 nutritional status data, malnutrition prevalence in Central Visayas for schoolyear 2012-2013 has decreased. The endline data (weighed at the end of the schoolyear) for the severely wasted and wasted schoolchildren was 11.2% compared to the baseline data (taken during the start of schoolyear) of 11.4%.

Prescilla Cacanog, School Principal of SAES said GPP has helped improve the nutritional status of their school as the prevalence rate of malnourished schoolchildren decreased. For schoolyear 2012-2013, their baseline data have 165 pupils or 10.95% were malnourished out of the 1,505 children population and in the endline data, around 76 pupils were rehabilitated and some 89 pupils or 5.71% still undernourished.

Another contribution of GPP was the increase in their Mean Percentage Score (MPS) on the National Achievement Test (NAT) from 47% in 2011 to 52% in 2012.

“Before, our schoolchildren usually go to school in empty stomach and we have a hard time teaching them. The GPP plays a big role in changing the perception of schoolchildren on the value and importance of vegetables in one’s health. Also, the school vegetable garden is a source of food for our school’s supplementary feeding program. With GPP, everything changed. We have encouraged our parents to establish their own home garden as source of food and additional income. Today, children come to school very active bringing with them their pack lunch”, Cacanog said.

SAES was one of the best GPP implementer for the province of Cebu. Among the interventions they received from DA7 are vegetables seeds, pickmattocks, plastic crates and seedling trays.

Malnutrition is everyone’s concern. The lack of money to buy food and the lack of food supply or the so-called demand and supply side must be properly addressed to fight malnutrition and hunger. (C. M. Victoria)