Study finds milk programme improved nutrition - GINA
March 3, 2003
The Milk Supplementation Programme conducted from February to December 2002 found that the daily supplementation of a childís diet with 250-millilitres of flavoured, sweetened, local milk significantly reduced malnutrition and generally improved the nutritional status of the study population.
According to the Government Information Agency, the programme was conducted in three schools, Novar, Airy Hall and Calcutta Nursery in Region Five (Mahaica/ Berbice). The supplementation and nutrition study was implemented and conducted by the Guyana Dairy Development Programme, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Partners of the Americas.
The main focus of the study, according to Nutritionist Yvette De Freitas, was to decrease malnutrition and increase dairy production through increased utilisation of locally produced milk. The Dantzig Dairy Plant was selected for the study because of its proximity to the schools, while the three schools were selected because of the high number of malnourished cases (about 273) reported by the health centre serving the area.
For the duration of the project, each child was required to consume a 250-millilitre pouch of milk daily. They were not given any milk through the Ministry of Educationís School Feeding Programme during the study. The study noted that there was a 69.4 percent reduction in malnutrition rates when the group was assessed by the weight for height indicator while a 75 percent reduction was noted when the assessment was conducted with the weight for age indicator.
The results showed that milk was readily accepted by the children, with strawberry being the preferred flavour.
The study also showed that the programme reduced casual absenteeism and parents even collected milk when their children were absent from school.