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Despite steady progress in battling malnutrition among Filipino children over the years, an increase in the prevalence of undernutrition was revealed in the results of the 7th National Nutrition Survey conducted in 2008 by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST).
There was a significant increase in the proportion of 0-5 year old children who were underweight, from 24.6 percent in 2005 to 26.2 percent in 2008. Among 6-10 year old children, underweight prevalence rose significantly from 22.8 percent in 2005 to 25.6 percent in 2008.
Corazon M. Cerdeña, Chief of the Nutritional Assessment and Monitoring Division of the FNRI-DOST underscored the importance of child nutrition during the growing years which has a major influence on health and stature. Cerdeña, who retired in June 2011, further added that poor maternal nutrition may limit the growth, ability to learn, and intelligence potential of a child.
Children whose diets lack essential nutrients show inadequate physical growth that may hamper potential for future achievements. Nutrition plays a vital role in preventing disease because poor nutrition limits the body’s ability to resist infection. Inadequate nutrition adds to the risk of developing chronic illnesses later in life.
Achieving nutritional well-being among children requires broad action on many issues, such as access to food, clean water, food safety, promoting healthy diet and lifestyle, regular monitoring of nutritional status and incorporating nutrition objectives into development policies and programs. (MOBalitaon, FNRI-DOST)
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