Iloilo City sees decline in preschooler malnutrition

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

The Iloilo City Health Office (CHO) has reported a decrease in the prevalence of stunting, wasting, overweight, and obesity among preschoolers, or children below five years old.

Stunting, characterized by children being too short for their age, has reduced to 2 percent from 2.6 percent in 2023, 2.8 percent in 2022, and 3 percent in 2021.

A downward trend is also evident in wasting, where children are too thin for their height. CHO data indicates that the incidence of wasting has significantly decreased from 2.9 percent in 2021 to 1.4 percent in 2024.

There has been a slight decline in the prevalence of overweight and obesity among children, dropping from 1.3 percent in 2021 to 0.6 percent in 2024.

“The decrease is due to the strengthening of our nutrition programs like exclusive breastfeeding and ongoing dietary supplementation services,” said Chlaerisse Nieves, Nutrition Coordinator of the CHO, on Thursday, July 4.

From a total population of 460,427, there are currently 533 underweight children, 227 wasted, 717 stunted, and 504 overweight or obese.

“We can observe that almost ⅛ of the population of our weighed preschoolers this first quarter is malnourished based on the Operation Timbang Plus (OPT),” she added.

Nieves said the reported figures have only covered 80 percent of preschoolers in the city.

CHO data showed that stunting, wasting, overweight, and obesity are more prevalent among male children compared to female children.

Every first quarter of the year, the city government conducts OPT activities and micronutrient supplementation to monitor the nutritional progress of the children.

“We are giving Vitamin A to children that are 6 to 9 months old. If we have stocks, we are also providing micronutrient powder. We also include deworming in the activity,” the CHO official said.

The CHO is optimistic that the decreasing trend in malnutrition will continue, especially with the operation of the 4-story nutrition center at General Luna Street, Iloilo City Proper.


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