August 11, 2022
The BMJ Nutrition, Prevention and Health published a brief report evaluating the impact of COVID-19 related school closures and subsequent suspension of the mid-day meal program on the nutritional status of primary school children, based on a double-blind randomized control trial of KHPT and St John’s Research Institute (SJRI).
The report found that the prevalence of anaemia doubled, due to lowered intake of nutrients supporting the process of producing red blood cells, potentially because of lower dietary diversity. The report states that the school mid-day meal is likely the main meal of the day for school children and during the pandemic both the quantity and quality of the meals at home could have been reduced due to economic constraints at home. It emphasizes the vital role of safety net programs such as the school midday meal and the need to continue the program to prevent irreversible and long-term health consequences for this vulnerable population.
The brief report, titled ‘There should always be a free lunch: the impact of COVID-19 lockdown suspension of the mid-day meal on nutriture of primary school children in Karnataka, India’, can be accessed here.
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