Tagbilaran City celebrates Nutrition Month

To strengthen Tagbilaran City’s stance against the COVID-19 pandemic, the 46th Nutrition Month celebration was intensified among the mothers and children in all the 15 barangays. Well-nourished children develop strong immunity. Online meal planning consultation among the pregnant and lactating mothers were conducted. The City Nutrition Committee in partnership with the City Vet and Agriculture Office also provided seedlings to the families with malnourished children. City Nutrition Officer Rey Delos Santos said that the City Health also provided ready-to-use-supplementary-food to identified malnourished children. Drumbeating the theme “Batang Pinoy SANA TALL… Iwas stunting, SAMA ALL”, an information education campaign was launched in the radio program of the City Government and was flashed in the LED walls all around Tagbilaran. Patients in the City Health Office also got to watch nutrition promotional videos.

The theme aims to promote awareness and mobilize actions to address stunting.  It calls for a collective vision of having taller Filipino children by preventing stunting through the participation of government, non-government organizations, civil society, business, academe, communities and families.

Stunting or pagkabansot in Filipino, is the impaired growth and development experienced by children due to poor nutrition, repeated infection and inadequate psychosocial stimulation. Stunting can lead to low educational performance, lost productivity, increased risk of developing non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and even death. The economic cost of stunting is high equivalent to 1.5 to 3% of the country’s gross domestic product.

The chosen theme underscores the urgency of addressing stunting considering that the Philippines is one of the 10 countries with the most stunted children in the world.  Currently, 1 in 3 or 30% of Filipino children 0-59 months old are stunted with stunting highest among 12-23 months at 36.6% (2018 ENNS, DOST-FNRI).  The high prevalence of stunting continues due to the limited scale by which nutrition and related services and programs have been delivered.  This is exacerbated by the fact that many Filipinos believe that stunting is hereditary (namamana) and not an illness.

Stunting is irreversible and thus must be prevented with proper nutrition and care in the first 1000 days or the period of conception until the child’s second birthday.   Addressing stunting requires all stakeholders to work together to ensure that families have access to nutritious food, have the knowledge and skills to feed their children from locally sourced food, have access to and seek services especially in the first 1000 days as provided in the Kalusugan at Nutrisyon ng Mag-Nanay Act or RA 11148.  By raising awareness on stunting, families should be able to understand that stunting is not just a problem of being short but results to poor mental development resulting to poor school performance and low wages as adults.