• Yellow pandesal to help address malnutrition among Filipino kids

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    To address the problem of malnutrition and undernutrition among Filipino children, the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) has introduced yellow pandesal in public schools.

    FNRI Director Mario Capanzana said yellow pandesal, also known as veggie bread, retains the taste and shape of the original but is colored yellow.

    Capanzana said the new staple will help fight malnutrition and undernutrition because it is fortified with Vitamin A.

    He explained that a 52-gram serving can provide 24 percent of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of Vitamin A and 10 percent of the daily energy requirement of a child aged 7 to 9.

    Yellow pandesal uses squash puree which does not exceed 40 percent of the total ingredient to maintain the desired taste and palatability.

    ” It is the squash which gave the new pandesal its yellowish color,” Capanzana added.

    He said wheat flour is supplemented with squash flour at 12 percent level and yeast is added to the dough and other traditional ingredients such as shortening, sugar, salt and vanilla.

    “As we all know squash is very nutritious and so we are intensifying our campaign that this could be made available to our public elementary and high schools,” he said.

    Under ambient temperature conditions, yellow pandesal can have a shelf life of up to three days since it can be mass produced free from pathogenic microorganisms such as E.Coli and salmonella if properly processed.

    Capanzana said the agency has coordinated with local government units (LGUs) to seek their support in selling yellow pandesal in all public schools.

    In his presentation during discussion on the importance of nutrition to children’s health and performance, Capanzana reported a high prevalence of malnutrition in Mimaropa (Mindoro-Marinduque-Romblon-Palawan) and parts of Eastern Visayas.

    “Probably because there were disasters and other calamities in those areas where foods are not readily available when the study was conducted,” he said.

    FNRI and health and nutritionist experts are advocating that intervention should start at a child’s first 1,000 days of life which covers the time spent in his mother’s womb up to his second birthday.

    “It is important for parents and health professionals to invest time and effort in ensuring optimal nutrition for children in the earliest years of life,” said Dr. Jing Hua, DSM’s nutrition science and advocacy manager.

    Hua cited a study funded by DSM that demonstrated how a diet rich in DHA improved the reading and comprehension performance of school age children in the United Kingdom (UK).

    DHA, she explained, is a polyunsaturated omega 3-fatty acid found throughout the body. Numerous studies confirmed that everyone, from infants to adults, benefits from an adequate supply of DHA.

    Hua said that in early childhood, the immune and neurological systems are still developing, requiring adequate nutritional support to fight disease, build brainpower and establish important functions such as eyesight and hearing.

    “Therefore, the right nutrition during this 1,000-day window can have an enormous impact on the child’s ability to grow and learn,” she added.

    DSM is a global science-based company that is active in health, nutrition and materials.

    RITCHIE A. HORARIO

     

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