Malnutrition among Thai kids is set to decline as schools nationwide adopt the "Thai School Lunch" online programme initiated to help prepare quality meals for students.
The programme was made by the National Electronics and Computer Technology Centre (Nectec) with the Institute of Nutrition, Mahidol University (INMU), and developed from the original INMU-School Lunch software that the university created in 2005. The original version was developed to counter nutritional shortages in rural areas and used as a tool for schools in preparing lunches. Designed to be user-friendly, the programme features a scoring system showing the levels of energy, protein, vitamins, calcium and fibre contained in different foods.
INMU-School Lunch was successfully implemented in a pilot project at 32 children's centres in 2009 and has been used in the schools network of the Thai Health Promotion Foundation's nutrition scheme. However, because it was initially CD-ROM software, and therefore installed on individual computers, the database could be not extended, and it was hard to monitor the use of it or upgrade the programme. Nectec saw this shortcoming and developed it into an online format so users can log in from both computers and mobile devices at www.sizethailand.org/lunch. The food recommendation feature enables school staff to select meals from a variety of choices. The quality of each meal is shown by the numbers of corresponding stars.
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