The devastating effects of poor diets and malnutrition on children’s health, school performance and ability to learn are well documented. The Private Sector has called for social protection solutions throughout the summit preparation and this includes school meals.
It was mentioned by the Head of the World Food Program in the Opening Ceremony, David Beasley, that school meal programs are a simple investment to address children hunger. Indeed, school feeding programs are valuable opportunities to positively affect child and adolescent development.
These programs have multiple benefits, including increased access to education, improving nutrition and health, and stimulating local economies. School feeding often serves as a safety net to ensure adequate nourishment for children, which has been reinforced during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are proud of the efforts and creativity of our sector that made milk and dairy foods accessible to children during that crisis, where special distribution channels have been organized to deliver the essential nutrition.
A long history of providing valuable nutrition to children
School Milk programs started in the UK in 1920s’ and are now delivering nutrition to at least 160 million children around the world. Milk and dairy are nutrient-dense foods that are also essential part of school meals/feeding programs. Based on our research and experience, successful programs are the result of collaboration between schools, local governments, dairy community, including local cooperatives and processors.
An IDF study “The contribution of school milk programmes to the nutrition of children worldwide” published in 2020, shows that the involvement of governments in school milk programs is broken down to: 50% Ministry of Agriculture, 31% Ministry of Education, 14% Ministry of Health, 19% Regional Governments and 19% Local Municipalities.
A vital element of sustainable food systems
School nutrition and education on healthy eating are crucial part of sustainable food systems. The International Dairy Federation is pleased to support the UN Food Systems Summit School Meals Coalition of action and we encourage member states to join.
To learn more about school milk, please visit our knowledge hub at: www.schoolmilkprograms.org. You will find reference material and case studies from around the world including Burundi, US, Canada, India, Kenya, Republic of Korea, Peru, Russia, Sri Lanka and Switzerland.