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Call for dietitians in schools, hospitals
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A Shanghai medical expert has called for legislation to put dietitians in schools and hospitals at the opening of the nation's first clinical children's nutrition development center at Shanghai Children's Medical Center yesterday.

The center, which was set up by the hospital and two charity organizations -- Project HOPE and the Abbott Fund -- will provide training for professionals and conduct research on nutrition therapy and children's nutrition guidelines.

"Developed countries have been long aware of the importance of nutrition and have rules and laws to ensure they are carried out," said Dr Cai Wei, director of the Shanghai Pediatrics Research Institute. "In Japan, there are laws that say every school offering lunch has to have dietitians. The same with food companies and hospitals."

He said 11.5 percent of local children suffered from malnutrition, or are overweight or obese.

"Nutrition and behavioral guidance are the most effective measure for such children," he said.

As a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, Cai has issued a proposal to address the legislation of dietitians in schools and hospitals.

"Though the Ministry of Health requires hospitals to have one dietitian for every 120 beds, many domestic hospitals still don't have any," Cai said.

The Abbott Fund has invested US$3 million in the project and says it will invest more with the cooperation of Project HOPE.

(Shanghai Daily June 27, 2009)

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