Central Visayas LGUs urged to support national nutrition program  

Published August 13, 2019, 1:34 PM

by CJ Juntereal

By Minerva Newman

CEBU CITY – The National Nutrition Council (NNC) has urged local government units in Central Visayas to support the nutrition action officers (NAOs) in bringing their programs to the community level.

National Nutrition Council | Wikipedia | Manila Bulletin
National Nutrition Council / Manila Bulletin

“When your constituents are healthy, there is more productivity,” NNC executive director Dr. Azucena Dayanghirang said.

Based on the 2018 Expanded National Nutrition Survey, the prevalence of stunting in the country remains high and doubles at one year of age, coinciding with the transition to complementary feeding, Dayanghirang said in her keynote message during the 15th Regional Congress of NAOs, last week Mandaue City.

Exclusive breastfeeding rates continue to fall below target. The number of young children with the minimum acceptable diet is also low, particularly among infants 6-11 months old, the survey showed.

Overweight prevalence among children under 5 years old increased from 3.9 percent in 2015 to 4.0 percent in 2018. But of greater concern is the rising prevalence of overweight and obesity among school-age children, from 8.6 percent to 11.7 percent, Dayanghirang added.

The survey also found that 4 in 10 Filipino adults are overweight and obese. Overweight and obesity is more frequent in urban areas and among families belonging to the higher income brackets.

“Clearly there is still lots of work to do,” Dayanghirang said as she called on the more than 300 NAOs who are members of the Central Visayas Association of Nutrition Action Officers (CeVANAO), Inc. to influence the public to eat and live right to address the alarming statistics on stunting, wasting, overweight and obesity.

Dayanghirang said eating and living right is becoming a challenge because fast food and instant meals are readily available.

Dayanghirang urged NAOs to work as a team and strengthen coordination and networking with local government units and the communities in focusing the nutrition intervention on the first 1,000 days of life of children.

“We must invest heavily on the “First 1,000 days of life, meaning ensure pregnant mothers to be nutritionally healthy and inclusive breastfeeding of babies until two years old to achieve good results and to address stunting, wasting among children,” she said.