China’s nutrition programme benefits 34 mn rural students

Beijing, Jan 2 (IANS) More than 34 million rural students have benefited from the Chinese government’s rural nutrition programme since 2011, according to the Ministry of Education.

The programme was launched on a pilot basis to address malnutrition in rural areas, and the government began to allocate three yuan a day per student to supplement their diets with nutritious meals. This was increased to four yuan from 2015, the Global Times reported on Monday.

The programme has been expanded to cover 1,502 counties in 29 out of the Chinese mainland’s 31 provincial regions, according to the ministry.

Prevalence of anemia among the students dropped by 8.9 percentage points from 2012 to 2015, data from the National Institute of Nutrition and Health under the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention show.

The students’ physical fitness has improved and their academic performance also been enhanced along with their nutrition, the ministry said.

Education Minister Chen Baosheng said the government aims to expand the programme to cover all poverty-stricken counties.