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WFP and SIFI are putting out a cycle of programmes on school meals on Tajik TV

On November 18, the state informational TV channel Jahannomo of the Republic of Tajikistan aired the first release of a cycle of programmes on the implementation of the School Meals Programme in the country.

A total of three programmes are planned to air on the nutrition of today's schoolchildren in Tajikistan and the School Meals Programme, which is run by WFP in partnership with the Russian Social and Industrial Foodservice Institute.

What is important to know for parents of schoolchildren

The correct physical and neuropsychic development of children largely depends on a healthy diet. It increases the body's resistance to infectious diseases, improves working capacity, endurance.

But, unfortunately, the average diet of a Tajik schoolchild is far from healthy. In 2009, the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of the Republic of Tajikistan studied what school-age children eat. It turned out that the diet lacks animal proteins, vitamins (C, folic acid) and minerals (calcium, iron).

Children are addicted to simple carbohydrates. The prevalence of obesity among school-aged children in the country is almost 5%. Most of them are children aged 6-7 years.

According to Khotambek Khairov, director of the Republican Nutrition Center under the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of the Republic of Tajikistan, one of the reasons for such indicators is fast food, which widely uses synthetic products.

Any nutritional disturbance is harmful to the health of children. Lack of a balanced and varied diet leads to a lack of vitamins, minerals and nutrients in the body. Energy reserves are not replenished, cognitive processes slow down: children concentrate poorly in the lesson, remember new material worse.

Healthy eating is especially important during the period of the most intensive growth of the child at school age. At this stage of their lives, children spend most of their day at school. And in order to stay healthy, full of strength and desire to learn, they must eat well both at home and at school.

The correct organization of school meals is a necessary condition for maintaining kid's health and development.

How does the Government and international organizations help

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), with technical support from the Russian Social and Industrial Foodeservice Institute (SIFI), is conducting a School Meals Programme in the Republic of Tajikistan and helping the Government to move to the national level of its implementation.

In addition to their direct purpose of feeding children at school with nutritious food, school meals programmes play another equally important role - to introduce school-age children to the culture of food at the beginning of their life.

This cycle of programmes about the School Meals Programme will help parents of schoolchildren understand the issues of healthy eating for their children and instill in them the right eating habits. Parents will also learn how they can help improve their child's school nutrition and support the Government in the transition to the National School Meals Programme.