Nutritionists in preschooler and basic education: need for curricula adaptation
LETTER TO THE EDITOR

 

Nutritionists in preschooler and basic education: need for curricula adaptation

 

Nutricionistas en la educación parvularia y básica: necesidad de adecuación de los planes de estudio

 

 

Eduard Antonio Maury Sintjago

Universidad del Bío-Bío, Facultad de Ciencias de Salud y de los Alimentos, Departamento de Nutrición y Salud Pública. Chile. Correo electrónico: emaury@ubiobio.cl

 

 

To the editor:

According to the latest national health survey (2009-2010), 67 % of the Chilean population suffers from overeating malnutrition; together with Mexico, represent the countries with the highest prevalence of overweight and obesity in children under six years of age.1 This nutritional and epidemiological profile has led to a set of community, advertising, clinical, legal and political strategies that seek to promote and maintaining healthy lifestyles and eating habits.

In 2012, Law 20606 was promulgated: "On nutritional composition of food and its advertising". Article 4 of this Law states: "Preschool, elemental and secondary education establishments shall include at all levels and teaching modalities, didactic and physical activities that contribute to the development of healthy eating habits ..."2

For the correct fulfillment of article No. 4 of the already mentioned law, competent personnel must care for it; that is, professionals specialized in nutrition and food. Under this premise several personalities and entities have expressed the need to incorporate nutritionists in educational establishments, especially at basic levels.

In 2012, it was presented to the Education, Sports and Recreation committee of the Chamber of Deputies a bill entitled "General Education Modification Law", which includes the need to have a nutritionist in educational establishments, however, after more than two years without the Commission having spoken about the project, it was shelved in 2016.3 On the other hand, more recently and from the College of University Nutritionists of Chile, a call has also been made to discuss the need to link more nutrition professionals with the supervision of school feeding programs, both in public and private institutions.4

The discussion of incorporating a nutrition professional into preschool and basic education establishments strengthen from different flanks, since one measure to reduce the high prevalence of overweight, obesity and concomitant diseases is the consolidation of healthy eating habits in the first years of life. However, in order to achieve a meaningful impact, it is necessary to adapt the study plans and curriculum of the nutrition and dietary career of Chilean universities and institutes. Most of them only incorporate the subject "Food and Nutrition Education", which, to the author's consideration, most likely does not allow the development of skills that favor meaningful learning at this stage of development.

In order to generate and correctly implement healthy eating habits in children, prepubescent and adolescents, it is necessary to have a solid background in "Theory of Development and Learning", "Developmental Psychology", "Child Psychology", "Theory and Instructional Practice" Family intervention ", among others. Therefore, it is imperative to carry out a reflective discussion within the study houses so that their plans are adapted in this regard.

Undoubtedly, the world epidemiological picture demands a greater contact of the health professionals with the subjects of smaller ages. The early stage is the best time to generate adequate eating habits and healthy lifestyles; however, the necessary competences must be developed to carry it out.

 

Declaration of interests

The author declares no conflict of interest.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHIC REFERENCES

1. Ministerio de Salud. Segunda Encuesta Nacional de Salud [Internet]. ENS: Chile 2009-2010. Chile: Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile; 2010. [citado 3 mayo de 2017]. Disponible en: http://web.minsal.cl/portal/url/item/bcb03d7bc28b64dfe040010165012d23.pdf

2. Chile. Ministerio de Salud. Subsecretaría de Salud Pública. Ley 20.606 Sobre composición nutricional de los alimentos y su publicidad [Internet]. Santiago de Chile: Congreso Nacional de Chile; 2012. [citado 3 May 2017]. Disponible en: http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/es/text.jsp?file_id=418414

3. Modifica la Ley General de Educación, incluyendo la necesidad de contar con un profesional nutricionista en los establecimientos educacionales [Internet]. Cámara de Diputados. Boletín N° 8163-04. Santiago de Chile: Comisión de Educación, Deportes y Recreación; 2012. [citado 3 May 2017]. Disponible en: http://www.senado.cl/appsenado/index.php?mo=tramitacion&ac=getDocto&iddocto=8568&tipodoc=mensaje_mocion

 

 

Submitted: May 3 2017.
Accepted: May 10 2017.

 

 

Eduard Antonio Maury Sintjago. Universidad del Bío-Bío, Facultad de Ciencias de Salud y de los Alimentos, Departamento de Nutrición y Salud Pública. Chile. Correo electrónico: emaury@ubiobio.cl

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