The National Nutrition Council (NNC) regional office X is spearheading the yearly celebration of National Nutrition Month here in Northern Mindanao.
The Nutrition Month campaign with the theme: “Malnutrisyon patuloy na labanan, First 1000 Days tutukan!” is an institutionalized campaign that offers an opportunity for various stakeholders to come together to inform about the most relevant nutrition issue in the Philippines.
This year, the call to action is: “By working together, we can end all forms of malnutrition. Let us scale up critical actions in the first 1000 days of life!” Its accompanying key messages: ABAKADA which means Alagaan ang mga buntis, Breastfeeding kay baby, Komplementary feeding na sapat and Dapat lahat suportado ang PPAN.
It is backed up by the following laws: RA 11148, RA 11210, RA 10410, RA 10028, RA 8976, RA 8172 and EO 51.
The first 1,000 days of a child is important because it is when health, nutrition and development foundations are established such as optimum growth and development, higher IQ and reduced deaths, among many others.
In this important period, scaled-up interventions for pregnant and lactating women should be in place, followed by exclusive breastfeeding of a newborn until he/she is six months old, and then continued breastfeeding with appropriate complementary feeding for infants six months and older.
Based on the 2020 Operation Timbang (OPT) Plus of Region X, report showed that about 8 out of 100 (37,620) children below 5 years old are stunted or height-for-age is below the standard, 3% or 15,988 are underweight, and 2.2% or 11,140 are wasted or thin for their height. Aside from undernutrition, overnutrition is also a public health concern. There are 5,027 (1%) overweight children below 5 years old, and 3,288 (0.6%) are obese. OPT Plus is the annual weighing and height measurement of all preschoolers 0-59 months old or below five years old in a community to identify and locate the malnourished children.
In the 4-year trend of the nutritional status of children below 5 years old from 2017-2020, underweight is decreasing consistently from 4.5% to 3.6%, same with stunting it went down to 7.6% from 8.9% in 2017. For other indicators, the trend is fluctuating but results showed in 2020 report that wasting prevalence slightly decreased to 2.3% from 2.6% in 2017. There is also a slight decrease on the overweight prevalence, 1.7% in 2020 compared to 1.9% in 2017.
On infant and young child feeding status, the 2019 Expanded National Nutrition Survey (ENNS) of the Department of Science and Technology – Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI) result showed that Misamis Oriental ranks highest on timely breastfeeding initiation. Bukidnon is highest among the provinces on timely introduction of complementary food, while Misamis Occidental top the survey on the percentage of children that receive minimum acceptable diet.
Different stakeholders at the community level play various roles in addressing malnutrition.
DILG Memorandum Circular 2018-42 enjoins all LGUs to prioritize in their allocation of local funds the PPAs included in their local nutrition action plans formulated in accordance with the PPAN 2017-2022.
On the other hand, the national government strengthens policies and programs in scaling up nutrition interventions.
The private sector, too has a role to act by creating an enabling work environment for maternal and lactating women.
Civil society can lobby and work with government in strengthening efforts to combat malnutrition.
Meanwhile, the academe may ensure to insert nutrition in their curriculum.
At the family level, parents or guardians can practice good nutrition in their respective households. Moreover, parents should make sure that children 6-23 months old received appropriate complementary foods.
And lastly, the media can disseminate factual information on good nutrition through print, television, radio, digital and other platforms.
In this pandemic year, families had limited access to food, ayuda food items were insufficient to meet nutritional needs, there were interruptions of nutrition programs and services, maternal health services were affected and physical inactivity and unhealthy behaviors increased.
Thus, PPAN 2017-2022 programs such as Infant and Young Child Feeding, Integrated Management of Acute Malnutrition, National Dietary Supplementation Program, Nutrition in Emergencies, National Nutrition Program for Behavior Change, Mandatory Food Fortification, Micronutrient Supplementation and Overweight and Obesity Management and Prevention Program are being continued to meet the emerging needs.
Nutrition Month 2021 is observed throughout July in activities such as integration of nutrition in 4Ps family development sessions, strengthened digital campaigns, broadcasting Nutrition Month plugs on air and TV infomercial, I-Flex mo si Nanay! Photo Contest, F1K Short Filmmaking Contest: Level Up! Also, the ongoing Tutok Kainan Dietary Supplementation Program which provides additional nourishment to 3,382 pregnant women in in all barangays of the eight (8) identified recipient local government units of Bukidnon.
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