Improving nutrition and health among Albanian schoolchildren
Nutrition is a critical part of health and development. Better nutrition is related to improved infant, child and maternal health, stronger immune systems, safer pregnancy and childbirth, lower risk of non-communicable diseases and longevity.
Prevention of malnutrition among adolescents and improvement of the nutritional status of children are considered important targets in Albanian health system efforts to achieve benefits in the population’s health.
Key approaches for improving nutritional status and nutrition-related knowledge, attitude and practices among school-children in Albania (based on the main findings from the in-depth analysis of three nationwide surveys conducted in Albania between 2015 and 2018 on nutritional status and nutrition-related knowledge, attitudes and practices among school-children in Albania and other findings) consist ofprevention and promotion from an early age, focus on knowledge, attitudes and practices, limit exposure to less healthy foods and increase parental awareness and involvement.
These studies findings and respective recommendations can support the development of a National School Food and Nutrition Education programme in Albania. While there is evidence for the need to intervene at the national level, the stratified analysis at regional and district levels points to the need for the design and implementation of specific interventions at the local level. It is also very crucial to strengthen and improve anthropometric nutrition and surveillance systems for nutritional risk factors for children and adolescents, and use the data obtained by these systems effectively and appropriately.
Conflicts of interest: None declared.
Acknowledgment: This document is based on the In-depth analysis of three nationwide surveys conducted recently in Albania regarding ‘Nutritional Status and Nutrition-Related Knowledge, Attitude and Practices Among School-Children in Albania”carried out by Ass. Prof Jolanda Hyska in the framework of the Project "Improving the nutritional status of children in schools in Albania", a project developed by the Albanian Center for Economic Research (ACER), funded by UNICEF Albania. The views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official opinion of ACER nor of UNICEF.
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