Support of the Food Aid and Promotion of Healthy Nutrition Programme at schools

Support of the Food Aid and Promotion of Healthy Nutrition Programme at schools

The Institute of Preventive Medicine, Environmental and Occupational Health “Prolepsis” is a non-profit scientific organization, active in the field of promoting Public Health and improving relevant policies by conducting rigorous academic research and translating it into education, advocacy and humanitarian projects. To achieve this goal, they design and implement health and well-being programmes focused on large groups of the population (youth, elderly, women and immigrants) and educational programmes advancing research methodology in the field of health and preventive medicine and organise scientific meetings, seminars and conferences.

In an effort to combat the increased household food insecurity and difficulty in feeding pupils, the Institute, in 2012, with the support of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, designed the Food Aid and Promotion of Healthy Nutrition Programme which later took the name DIATROFI (= nutrition). The two-fold objective is: to provide all students in the participating schools with a free, healthy and nutritious meal every day and to encourage the adoption of healthy eating habits for both the students and their families.

For this year, the 4th consecutive of its implementation, the programme is supported, among others, by the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation. More than 15,000 pupils in total from 150 schools located in socioeconomically vulnerable areas where the highest rates of food insecurity and child poverty have been recorded will participate.

The benefits arising from the programme are numerous and important for the children and their families as shown from the data analysisThe food insecurity percentage at the beginning of the school year 2013-2014 was 54% and by the end it was 48%. The percentage of food insecurity combined with hunger was reduced from 21% to 18%. Overall, the food insecurity rate decreased significantly by 11%. Furthermore, the participation of all students enhances the programme’s dynamic character, makes it an integral part of everyday school life, cultivates solidarity among the children, increases their knowledge about nutrition, strengthens their environmental consciousness (e.g. through recycling activities) and enhances the educational role of the school while favoring the communication between parents and teachers.