DEVELOPMENT OF FOOD-BASED RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FILIPINO SCHOOLCHILDREN USING LINEAR PROGRAMMING
Keywords:food-based recommendations, linear programming, nutrient gaps, Optifood, school-and-home garden project, school-based feeding program, schoolchildren
The study aimed to identify problem nutrients and formulate food-based recommendations (FBRs) for Filipino schoolchildren 6-9 years of age attending an elementary school in Labuin, Pila, Laguna, Philippines. A cross-sectional study design was conducted among 100 randomly selected children. A 24-hour food recall, food weighing and food record were used to collect data on their food and nutrient intake. The problem nutrients were identified using a linear programming software and FBRs were formulated based on their current dietary patterns and habits. The findings showed that calcium was an absolute problem nutrient among schoolchildren, while vitamin C was a partial problem nutrient. Moreover, <65% of the recommended nutrient intakes for folate, riboflavin, and vitamins A and B12 could only be achieved in the worst-case scenario. The set of FBRs that could best achieve this consisted of seven servings of egg, five servings of fortified milk, and three servings of dark green leafy vegetables per week. However, while this set of FBRs could prevent possible dietary inadequacy, calcium and vitamin C remained problem nutrients among schoolchildren. Thus, implementation the formulated FBRs for this age group should be supplemented with other health and nutrition interventions that address these concerns.