As the country’s educational institutions welcome a new school year, most parents and students are busy preparing their uniforms, books, notebooks, and other school supplies. Often overlooked, particularly among public elementary pupils, is their health and nutrition.
A 2013 Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) survey showed that 29.1 percent of Filipino children between the ages of 5 and 10 are underweight, while 8.6 percent are deemed to be wasted or severely wasted. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) defines wasted and severely wasted as those children whose weight is below minus two deviations from the median weight of the targeted population.
“Having proper nutrition is important. School children should be able to meet the basic nutritional requirements in order for them to properly develop and grow,” said Dr. Aurea Lopez, Quezon City Division of City Schools Medical and Health Division head. “Meeting the proper nutritional requirement plays a crucial role in the students’ performance, both in academic and non-academic courses.”
In 2015, Minute Maid Nurisha was rolled out in select public elementary schools in Quezon City, Rizal, Bulacan, and Batangas, reaching a total of 30,000 wasted and severely wasted school children.
As the country’s leading beverage company, Coca-Cola Philippines produces Minute Maid Nurisha, a micronutrient-fortified orange-flavored juice drink to supplement the Department of Education’s in-school feeding program for malnourished school children.
“This is part of the commitment of Coca-Cola Philippines to continue to help build stronger communities, to provide refreshment for everyone, and to bring balanced nutrition to the children. Minute Maid Nurisha is specially concocted for the betterment of the children,” said Atty. Adel Tamano, VP for Public Affairs and Communications of Coca-Cola Philippines.
Providing a multi-pronged approach in dealing with malnutrition among Filipino students, the Department of Education, at the start of the school year, evaluates the weight and height of school children to determine who are underweight, wasted, and severely wasted, as classified by the World Health Organization. Those who are diagnosed as wasted and severely wasted are introduced to the feeding program.
Given to school children ages 6 to 9 for free for a period of 90 to 120 days, Minute Maid Nurisha is a product of a partnership between the FNRI of the Department of Science and Technology and Coca-Cola Philippines that aimed to develop a beverage product that will address Iron Deficiency Anemia and overall micronutrient deficiencies among school children.
Using the fruit and nature expertise of the Minute Maid brand, Coca-Cola and FNRI came up with a new clinically-proven orange-juice drink that helps deliver 14 key nutrients to address common nutrient gaps in a child’s diet.