National Nutrition Policy handed over to govt.

By Don Asoka Wijewardena

The National Nutrition Policy formulated by a team headed by Consultant Community Physician and Director Nutrition Coordination Division Ministry of Health Dr. Mrs. Shanthi Gunawardena was submitted to the government last week.

Dr. Mrs. Gunawardena told The Island yesterday that every Sri Lankan had access to appropriate and adequate food and nutrition irrespective of their geographical location and socio-economic status, but the non implementation of the school canteen policy, negligence on the part of parents as regards feeding their children with healthy food and lack of legislation to ban junk food outlets continued to cause problems.

She said schoolchildren between the ages of five and 11 years had been found to be suffering from iron deficiency due to wrong food habits. Some children were attending schools without breakfast.

The Director Nutrition Coordination Division said that the main objectives of the policy were ensuring optimal nutrition throughout a person’s life cycle, enhancing capacity to deliver effective and adequate interventions, ensuring food and nutrition security for all citizens, strengthening advocacy, partnership and networking and to strengthen research, monitoring and evaluation.

According to Dr. (Mrs.) Gunawardena, the National Nutrition Council consisting of 17 Cabinet Ministers has been formed with President Mahinda Rajapaksa as Chairman. In addition, the National Nutrition Secretariat and a Technical Advisory Committee on Nutrition have also been formed to implement the guidelines included in the policy.

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