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4 ways to ensure universal access to nutrition for all children

4 ways to ensure universal access to nutrition for all children

Despite our many achievements, there are still over a billion poor people worldwide. To make matters worse, the gap between the rich and poor is widening, with the rich getting a lion’s share of crucial resources whereas the poor get next to nothing. This is affecting the poor not only in their livelihoods but also in their health. Poor children are especially vulnerable to preventable diseases that unnecessarily sap their energy, nutrition, and physical growth. This impacts their overall growth, development, and academic performance. It is, therefore, crucial to help poor in need and make sure our next generations can live a life by standing on their feet. Here is how some schemes can do so:

Mid-day meals- In many countries, local governments sponsor midday meals for children in all schools. Here, the children are given nutritious food along with staples like rice, wheat, protein, and fat-based preparations that are usually common in the local diet. The way they supply these meals depends from country to country, sometimes there is a school cook, other times a centralized agency brings food to the school daily, while other times the food is prepared by a group of local women organized into ‘self-help groups’. These midday meals help not only improve nutrition but are also a great motivating factor for parents to send their kids to school, especially in poor households.

Encourage dairy consumption- Milk is crucial for growing children’s diets. It helps the kids to have the right mix of nutrients for their growth and development. Many governments encourage dairy consumption amongst children by adding milk to the mid-day meal, but sometimes this may not be enough. Though many NGOs have helped increase dairy consumption, it may not be enough. Governments should do more by subsidizing milk and milk products for children’s consumption, for example.

Tax unhealthy food- These days, unhealthy, fried, and salt and sugar-laden food is readily available everywhere. These cheap foods can be detrimental to children’s health. Cheap fries, fritters, sweets, candy, and baked items are some unhealthy foods that are now available even in many rural areas. Though many governments have gone ahead and taxed these foods, a lot more has to be done, especially by developing countries.

Ensure access to clean drinking water and sanitation facilities- Access to clean drinking water is everyone’s right. However, many poor people do not have access to clean water and are forced to drink hard or polluted water. This results in water-borne diseases that can hamper a child’s growth and development. Governments feed the hungry organizations and other NGOs are working hard to improve people’s access to clean drinking water and sanitation facilities across the developing world.

In the end

All children, whether rich or poor, have a right to eat healthy and nutritious food for their growth and development. Though a lot has been done to help them, a lot more needs to be done to ensure every poor child in every village can get a consistent diet of nutritious meals. This would need the help of various stakeholders, from government agencies to NGOs, local governments, and even local villagers.

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