Oct 19, Colombo: A Sri Lankan minister says that more students in urban areas in the country are malnourished than in rural areas.
Agriculture Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena has observed that most students in urban areas were malnourished since they most often do not have a proper breakfast.
He added that those students also eat a lot of fast food items.
He noted that a research conducted by the World Food Programme (WFP) had revealed that malnutrition is rapidly spreading among school children in Sri Lanka.
The Minister further observed that ambitious parents most often admitted their children to popular schools that are located far away from their homes and children as a result have to spend more time on the road making it difficult for them to have a nutritious meal.
A recent United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) study revealed that as much as 21 percent of Sri Lanka's children less than five years are undernourished, 15 percent are wasting and 17 percent are stunted.
The UNICEF attributes the malnutrition figures, among others, to inappropriate infant and young child feeding practices.
According to the Minister, malnutrition has become a burning issue and the government is to introduce a special programme to educate students and parents on the importance of having a balanced meal.