Madam Gloria Yvonne Kobati, the Upper East Regional Nutrition Officer of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) says breakfast is the most important meal of the day and should not be skipped.
She observed that most people were usually in a rush to get to their various workplaces, and in the process, skipped their breakfast.
“When you skip breakfast, you don’t get the system working because you have fasted over the night and need to get some energy into the body,” she explained.
Madam Kobati was speaking at a Regional stakeholder engagement on the roll-out of nutrition intervention for school-aged children and adolescents, held in Bolgatanga.
The programme brought together Regional, Municipal and District Directors of the GHS and the Ghana Education Service (GES) including traditional authorities and the media.
She urged parents to ensure that their children were given a good breakfast every morning before they left for school, insisting that the breakfast would provide them with the required energy to concentrate effectively during contact hours in school.
Madam Kobati noted that it was important for school children to be fed with healthy meals, saying, “When we talk of healthy meals, we mean eating food from a variety of sources. The food should include animal source foods, vegetables and fruits, cereals, legumes among others.”
She said all the varieties of foods were referred to as the “four-star diet,” and should be in quantities that would satisfy the children.
The Nutrition Officer, therefore, encouraged healthy eating of three meals a day with healthy snacks in between the meals.
Dr Emmanuel Kofi Dzotsi, the Regional Director of the GHS said malnutrition among school-aged children had devastating consequences on their growth and learning potentials and called for improvement in the School Feeding Programme.
He said anaemia lowered their school achievements due to impaired cognitive development, fatigue and short attention lifespan while obesity predisposed them to cardiovascular diseases in later life.
“Optimal eating patterns and habits developed early in life enhances academic performance and reduce the risk of immediate nutrition related health problems,” the Director said.
Dr Dzotsi said the GHS in collaboration with the GES and other partners were implementing some health and nutrition interventions in schools.
“These interventions have been reviewed, and the current plan is to consolidate all the interventions for school-aged children and adolescents targeted at improving their nutritional status,” he added.
In a speech read on his behalf, Mr Edward Azure, the Regional Director of the GES, assured the GHS of its support for the roll-out of the nutrition intervention in schools across the Region.
Bonaba Baba Salifu Lemyaarum, the Paramount Chief of the Bongo Traditional Area, who represented the Upper East Regional House of Chiefs, urged parents to ensure that their children were probably fed so that they would be well nourished.