With the nutritional diet chart provided to the students at the Poona School and Home for the Blind (Girls),Kothrud,a significant improvement has been observed in their health
With an aim to improve the overall health of the visually challenged boarders at the Poona School and Home for the Blind (Girls),Kothrud,the authorities had introduced a special diet programme in 2008. The students have benefitted from it and are healthier than before. Comprising the right amount of vitamins and minerals,the meals provide the perfect nutrition required for the growing children. Visually challenged girls require more nutrition than other children. So,their diet consists of more proteins and a balance of minerals and vitamins, says Medha Patwardhan,the consultant dietician for the school and the chief dietician at Sahyadri Hospital,Karve Road. The diet programme which has been in full swing from 2008 has improved the girls’ health at large. Students who study here are mainly from the rural background. They are neglected at home because of being visually challenged. Most of them are anemic when they come to the school. So we try to provide the best diet which can lead to their physical betterment, says Sulabha Pujari,principal.
The addition of nutritional elements has shown a stark change in the girls’ health in the past few years. The hemoglobin level has increased and the students are more active now. Their immunity has also improved and they are less susceptible to regular coughs and fever, adds Patwardhan. She has prepared separate day diet charts for different age groups. The diet consists of morning snacks,a heavy breakfast,lunch,evening snack,an early dinner and bed time milk. Lunch is also packed for students who attend classes.
The authorities have stopped people from distributing chocolates,laddoos and other food items to the students in order to help them stick to their healthy and nutritious diet regime. We asked people to contact the administrative teacher instead of giving sweets to the students directly. This has prevented tooth decay which was widely prevalent among girls a few years back, says Rajani Indulkar,the secretary of the trust which runs the school. Sweets are now only distributed to the students on birthdays.
Earlier,students also suffered from severe stomach infections due to outside food and drinks. People would often come with left-over wedding food to treat these students. This was derogatory and unhealthy at the same time. So we insist on preparing food ourselves, Indulkar adds. Only nutritious grains and lentils are accepted by the school authorities now.