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MALNUTRTION Initial results of the 6th National Nutrition Survey of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI)

in 2003 and Updates on the 2001 Nutritional Status of Filipino Children show that malnutrition continues to persist in the Philippines. These studies found that although there are modest gains, the improvements in the nutrition status of Filipinos observed from 1990 to 2001 have been very slow. For the period 1990 to 2001, the number of underweight pre-school children decreased by a mere 3.9 percentage points from 34.50 percent in 1990 to 30.60 percent in 2001. In terms of population, this translates into an estimated 3.67 million underweight preschool children in 2001. Among the 6-10 year old children, the decrease in underweight prevalence within the 11-year period is only 1.3 percentage points from 34.20 percent in 1990 to 32.90 in 2001. Given the rate of improvement of underweight prevalence (decrease in prevalence) in the said period, the FNRI has estimated that it will take the Philippines more than 50 years before the problem of undernutrition can be totally eradicated. -Nutritional Status of Filipino Children At a Glance, 2006, Senate Economic Planning Office Nutrition is recognized as a basic human right, vital to the survival, growth and development of children according to the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF). Despite this pronouncement, however, malnutrition continues to claim millions of lives, with more than 5.5 million children under-five years of age dying annually. The Survey found the proportion of households with per capita dietary intake lower than 100 percent dietary energy requirement decreasing from 69.4 percent in 1993 to 56.9 percent in 2003, or an annual rate of reduction of 1.25 percent. On the other hand, the prevalence of underweight preschool children also declined from 30.6 percent in 2001 to 26.9 percent in 2003. This further declined to 24.6 percent in 2005. According to FNRI, malnutrition is caused by various factors that include among others, poverty; hunger, the most crucial manifestation of poverty; and food insecurity, a major determinant of a countrys nutritional status. In terms of families, poverty incidence increased to 26.9 percent in 2006 compared to 24.4 percent in 2003 according to the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB). However, the 2006 figure is lower than the 27.5 percent poverty incidence in 2000. In terms of population, out of 100 Filipinos, 33 were poor in 2006, compared to 30 in 2003. Meanwhile, the extent of poverty can also be described in terms of hunger situation in the

country. A Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey revealed that as of the second quarter of 2008, about 2.9 million families have experienced hunger. From this figure, about 760,000 families experienced severe hunger. The spike in global oil and food prices are among the reasons why many Filipinos are hungry says SWS. Medium-Term Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition (MTPPAN), the government hopes to improve the Filipinos quality of life through better nutrition, improved health and productivity. ***Malnutrition is a continuing challenge in the Philippine. This requires an effective and continuing education on nutrition aside from supplying supplementary food aid for poor mothers, according to FNRI. The MTPPAN strategies include: (a) prioritizing nutrition and related services for infants and young children as well as pregnant women, especially those living in depressed areas; (b) intensifying delivery of nutrition interventions that include micronutrient supplementation such as vitamin A and zinc, food fortification, breastfeeding promotion, food assistance as well as food production in homes, schools, and community; (c) improving service delivery to address nutrition deficiency; (d) stronger nutrition perspective in disaster management; (e) effective coordination among those directly involved in nutrition interventions, among others. -DevPulse NEDA Development Advocacy Factsheet, Vol. XII, No. 16, August 31, 2008 Food comes first whenever nutrition is mentioned. But of the more than two dozen specific objectives of the present national nutrition plan not a single one is about food and nutrient intake3 an exclusion inconsistent with a food-based approach to malnutrition and a progressive decline in our food consumption. The last two national food consumption surveys reported a progressive decrease in mean daily per capita total food intake by 5% from 1982-87 and an additional 8% from 1987-1993. The biggest change during the decade was a 21% reduction in body-regulating foods, such as fruits and vegetables; followed by 11% decrease in energy-giving foods, such as rice and tubers; and 2% decrease in body-building foods, such as fish. From 1987 to 1993, actual food intake (in kcal) decreased by 4% while available food supply (in kcal) increased by 5%. Based on both sets of data it appears that there is adequate food supply at the national level. But according to the Philippines Progress Report on the

Millennium Development Goals many do not have enough money to buy the food they need, although food is readily available - Cecilia A. Florencio, Food and Nutritional Status of Filipinos and Nutrition Integration, 20 June 2003 Noynoy Through Executive Order No. 128, signed on Jan. 30, 1987 during the time of the Presidents mother, the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is mandated to undertake research to define the nutritional status of the population particularly the malnutrition problem and its causes and effects, and to identify alternative solutions to them. Underweight, underheight One of the issues the 2008 NNS looked into is childrens nutrition. The research found that the number of Filipino children who were underweight and underheight or stunted increased from 2005 to 2008. The prevalence of underweight children aged 0-5 years increased from 24.6 percent to 26.2 percent, about 3.35 million children. The underheight rate increased from 26.3 percent to 27.9 percent, representing 3.57 million children. There was also a significant increase in the prevalence of underweight children aged 6-10 years from 22.8 percent in 2005 to 25.6 percent in 2008, equivalent to 2.6 million. The number of underheight children in this age group likewise increased from 32 percent to 33.1 percent. A very high level of acute malnutrition among preschoolers (aged 0-5) was noted in six regions, namely Mimaropa, Bicol, Western Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula and Soccsksargen where the underweightfor-age prevalence was at least 30 percent. A high prevalence of underheight-for-age or stunted preschoolers was mostly observed in Mimaropa, Bicol, and all the regions in the Visayas and Mindanao. Based on their weight relative to their height, the nutritional status of preschoolers was considered poor in most regions except for Central Visayas

and Davao regions (based on the classification of worldwide prevalence range among children under 5 years of age). Complementary foods given to children included solid/semi-solid foods (75.4 percent), vegetable soup/broth (71.9 percent), fish soup/broth (71.3 percent), meat soup/broth (69.6 percent). Other liquids (50.3 percent), fresh fruit juice (50.2 percent), powdered/readyto-drink juice (48.0 percent), Am (36.7 percent), milk other than breast milk (26.6 percent) and water plus sugar (22.6 percent). - Janryll Fernandez, Malnutrition among Filipino kids up, Philippine Daily Inquirer , 07/24/2010 Malnutrition is not a hidden problem. The government, almost since the proclamation of 1972 martial law, has campaigned against malnutrition. During the 1970s, the government developed a major program of expanded production with the result that rice production expanded substantially. Even this achievement leaves the average Filipino short by 300 calories of food intake per day. It is not jiggering with food aid or government price incentives that will assure that future Filipinos will have enough to eat. Only a productive revolution of rural life that also educates mothers to know what makes for sound family nutrition will be adequate. The status of micronutrient malnutrition is likewise an important concern in the country. The vitamin A status of the country is considered severe subclinical deficiency affecting children 6 months - 5 years (8.2%) and pregnant women (7.1%). Iron deficiency anemia is the most alarming of the micronutrient deficiencies affecting a considerable proportion of infants (56.6%), pregnant women (50.7%), lactating women (45.7%) and male older persons (49.1%). Prevalence of IDD was mild (71mg/L). However, 35.8% children 6 12 years old still suffer from moderate and severe IDD. Malnutrition in the Philippines is caused by a host of interrelated factors health, physical, social, economic and others. Food supply and how it is distributed and consumed by the populace have consequent impact on nutritional status. While reports indicate that there are enough food to feed the country, many Filipinos continue to go hungry and become malnourished due to inadequate intake of food and nutrients. In fact, except for protein, the typical Filipino diet was found to be grossly inadequate for energy and other nutrients. In order to compensate for the inadequate energy intake, the body utilizes protein as energy source. Thus, the continuing PEM problem in the country.

-FAO Malnourished children who survive are more frequently sick and suffer the life-long consequences of impaired development