‘Breakfast first!’ Marikina students to get nutribun and glass of milk every morning

Images via Cha Echaluce
  • Marikina Mayor Marcy Teodoro led the pilot serving of nutribun and milk to over 1,000 students at Parang Elementary School
  • Program was launched to make sure that the kids have eaten something before their classes begin
  • 21,000 public school children in Marikina City are set to benefit from the project

Breakfast first! Because studies show that there is a connection between good nutrition and good school performance, at least 21,000 public school students in Marikina City will be receiving a nutribun and a glass of milk every morning, before their classes begin.

Image via Cha Echaluce

On Wednesday, October 16, Marikina Mayor Marcy Teodoro led the pilot serving of nutribun with malunggay and milk to over 1,000 students at Parang Elementary School (PES); noting that they will not just give the kids something to eat, but will also monitor their weight and school performance for more than a hundred days.

“Titingnan natin ang kanilang grades at performance after 120 days kung nag-improve sila sa pag-aaral. Ayon kasi sa mga pag-aaral, may relasyon ang tamang nutrisyon sa performance sa pag-aaral ng mga bata,” Teodoro noted.

“Pagpasok pa lang ng mga bata, seven in the morning, unang ibibigay ng teachers ‘yong nutribun at gatas sa kanila. Mahalaga kasi na ang almusal nila ay nutritious dahil ang breakfast is the most important meal,” PES Principal Marciana De Guzman said.

De Guzman said there around 600 malnourished children in their school, out of more than 4,000 students from Kinder to Grade 6.

Marikina City’s nutribun is made up of malunggay, squash, eggs, and flour.

Aside from the nutribun program, the city government is also set to conduct a seminar on nutrition among parents to teach them the recommended food daily allowance needed by their growing children.

Image via Cha Echaluce

Nutribun decades ago

Between 1968 and 1970, nutribun–the bread envisioned as a way to fight malnutrition–was developed by a team of nutritionists and agrarian experts at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
The bread is well fortified with nutrients and was designed around a “base” product that could be modified using any number of locally available substances.

Malnutrition rate of children went up during the administration of Marcos. Due to this, the Philippines decided to take advantage of the US Food for Peace Program, and began its own five-year nutrition program in 1971, which was later called “Operation Timbang.” In 1972, USAID started  providing the government with loaves of nutribun and tons of dried milk powder.

Because of the decreasing rate of malnutrition in the country, the nutribun program was gradually phased out. The final batches of bread were distributed in the mid 1980s.