School Milk programmes provide children around the world with the nutrients they need to help them grow and develop healthily. They also support the development of good eating habits which will last a lifetime, said IDF President Judith Bryans.
Speaking on the Contribution of School Milk to the Nutrition of Children Worldwide at the IDF World Dairy Summit 2018 on 16 October, Dr Bryans said: “If you don’t have enough food in your belly or good nutrition to keep you healthy, it’s hard to concentrate on your education and make the most of school,” stated Dr Bryans. “We must ensure that children are well nourished. All children around the world, whether rich or poor deserve to have access to enough food so they don’t go hungry. They also deserve to have foods that are nutritious, culturally acceptable and affordable.”
Dr Bryans said School Milk programmes worldwide are important in delivering all these factors to support a child’s diet through quality food as they grow.
“Milk provides children with a range of nutrients including calcium, good quality protein and an array of vitamins and minerals needed for development. We should also recognise that nutrients in milk come as a package known as the milk matrix. That matrix works like a symphony orchestra of nutrients which work synergistically to provide health benefits.”
Dr Bryans pointed out that dairy products made from milk, such as yoghurt and cheese, are important vehicles for delivering nutrition to children.
To better understand the status of School Milk programmes worldwide, Dr Bryans said the IDF Standing Committee on Nutrition and Health will conduct a new survey over 2018/19 with results to be presented at next year’s IDF World Dairy Summit in Istanbul, Turkey.
Dr Bryans said the School Milk programme has an impact on farmers in poverty alleviation and sustainability. It supports the Sustainable Development Goals of ending poverty; promoting good health and well-being; quality education; gender equality; and decent work and economic growth.
Mr Narongrit Wongsuwan of the Dairy Farming Promotion Organization of Thailand shared data about his government’s efforts to improve milk quality to benefit the country’s School Milk programme.
Mr Rafael Fabrega of Tetra Laval Food for Development said the new School Milk survey will provide useful data to justify continued government funding to sustain these programmes which are beneficial to children.