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Valle La Paz Foundation

Nutrition program

Investing today in children's and teenager's nutrition is investing in the health of future generations

The first five years of life are crucial for physical, mental and emotional development in childhood. During this first stage of life, food habits are created that will determine our health as adults. The Mexican people suffer from a double burden of malnutrition. Micronutrient deficiencies can be observed, as well as the existence of overweight and obesity. According to the 2018 Ensanut survey, one in each six children has low height (chronic malnutrition), and 23% have anemia. The main long-term consequences on their health are:

  • Stunted growth
  • Increased risk of infection or other diseases
  • Diminished cognitive capacity
  • Increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus or hypertension This situation worsens in rural communities that are losing their food sovereignty. People stop producing their own food (corn, beans, wild greens known as “quelites”, squash, and chilies); they stop consuming fresh farm products and replace them with ultra-processed products.

At Valle La Paz Foundation, we developed a nutrition program with the aim of insuring nutrition in an integrative manner for the benefit of children and families in general.

Elements of the Program

School Breakfasts

We coordinate four cafeterias in the Mesa Rica and El Manzano communities where breakfast is served to 180 students every day. In our breakfasts, we favor the consumption of complex carbohydrates, good-quality sugars as honey and “piloncillo” (brown sugar made from the sugar-cane juice), fresh vegetables and fruits in season. Menus are high in protein, lead, zinc and calcium, and provide sufficient vitamin A, vitamin C and folates.

Most of the food comes from organic or agro-ecological producers from the Valle de Bravo region, thus promoting the consumption of healthy, agrochemical-free food.

Childhood Nutritional Status Assessment

With the collaboration of the Salvador Zubirán National Nutrition Institute, the weight, height and hemoglobin of all the children in the program are assessed. Malnourished, anemic and overweight children are identified and they are given treatment and follow-up.

Education in health and nutrition

There are nutrition and health workshops with a focus on empowering women in decision-making so they take care of their family’s health and also on developing the children’s capacity to take care of their own health and that of their environment. To achieve this, we invite different experts in health, cooking and agro-ecology experts.

Food sovereignty

These communities have reached a food transition stage and have recently stopped planting, thus losing their self-sufficiency in corn, beans and other staple foods.

Talks are given on food sovereignty, with the aim of getting the community to plant again in order to produce basic food for their daily diet and to work together.