Capiz Provincial Health Office Nutritionist Nenita Cesar said that the nutrition status of children below six years old was noted to have improved.
Cesar said that records from their office show that last year, the malnutrition rate of said children was noted at 6.77 percent only compared to the 8.47 percent in 2008 and 10.16 percent in 2007.
"Despite this good results, we continue to intensify our efforts, especially in the conduct of nutrition education campaign at the barangay level to eventually solve the malnutrition problem in children," she said.
She revealed that they are also in close coordination with the Department of Education, rural health units of the different towns and city in the province, including the barangay health workers to step up the campaign on health and nutrition.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, protein-energy malnutrition (PEM) and micronutrient deficiencies remain the leading nutritional problems in the Philippines.
It added that the general declining trend in the prevalence of underweight, wasting and stunting among Filipino children noted in the past 10 years was countered with the increase in the prevalence rate in 1998.
Data show that about 4 million (31.8%) of the preschool population were found to be underweight-for-age, 3 million (19.8%) adolescents and 5 million (13.2%) adults, including older persons were found to be underweight and chronically energy deficient, respectively.
It explained that malnutrition in the Philippines is caused by a host of interrelated factors, namely, health, physical, social, economic and others.
Food supply and how it is distributed and consumed by the populace have consequent impact on nutritional status, it added, pointing out that 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, the FAO stressed. (Jemin B. Guillermo,PIA)