Improving Rural Children's Nutrition
"The Nutritional Improvement Program (NIP) has benefited 37 million primary and middle school students in 29 of China's provinces, municipalities or autonomous regions since the Chinese Government implemented the program in underdeveloped rural areas in November 2011," He Xiuchao, Director of the Office of National Education Inspection, under China's Ministry of Education, said during a recent news conference hosted by the ministry.
He told media the government had allocated a combined 124.8 billion yuan (US $18.63 billion) to primary and middle schools (in which the program was implemented), to provide nutritious foods to the schools' students. Also, the government allocated a combined 30 billion yuan (US $4.48 billion) to the schools, to help them establish canteens.
"The ministry has established experimental areas, in which the program is implemented, in 88 of the key counties (in 10 of China's provinces), in which the national project of poverty alleviation and development has been implemented. By the end of 2017, the Chinese Government had implemented the program in all the State-level, poverty-stricken counties, to the benefit of nearly three million children in the areas," said He.
According to the follow-up survey on the program's beneficiaries, which was conducted by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the average height of boys and girls (in the program's experimental areas) increased, from 2012-2017, 1.9 centimeters and 2.0 centimeters, respectively; and, the average weight of the boys and girls grew 1.3 kilograms and 1.4 kilograms, respectively. The survey also indicated 19 percent of the students in the experimental areas suffered from malnutrition in 2013, and that the figure had dropped to 16 percent in 2017.