Iloilo reports steady decline in child malnutrition

Dr. Wendel Tupas-Marcelo, Provincial Health Officer I, cites the significant progress in reducing child malnutrition rates in Iloilo during the Nutrition Press Conference on July 8.

By Mariela Angella Oladive and Axes Villar

The Iloilo Provincial Health Office (IPHO) has reported a continuous decline in malnutrition cases among children, as highlighted by Dr. Wendel Tupas-Marcelo, Provincial Health Officer I, during a press conference on July 8 at Casa Real De Iloilo.

“Our data shows that for the past years, we have improved malnutrition in terms of stunting and other indicators,” Dr. Marcelo said.

According to the health office’s data, a decreasing trend was observed in the following indicators: underweight, wasting, stunting, and overweight among children in Iloilo from 2020 to 2023.

2020-2023 Year-by-Year Breakdown of Rates in Percentage:

Underweight:

  • 2020: 3.47% (5,919 children)
  • 2021: 2.98% (4,804 children)
  • 2022: 2.53% (3,893 children)
  • 2023: 2.44% (3,627 children)

Wasting:

  • 2020: 2.12% (3,610 children)
  • 2021: 1.58% (2,552 children)
  • 2022: 1.31% (2,024 children)
  • 2023: 1.11% (1,727 children)

Stunting:

  • 2020: 8.73% (14,862 children)
  • 2021: 7.46% (12,016 children)
  • 2022: 5.33% (8,207 children)
  • 2023: 4.84% (7,204 children)

Overweight:

  • 2020: 3.30% (5,619 children)
  • 2021: 3.15% (5,077 children)
  • 2022: 2.65% (4,084 children)
  • 2023: 2.26% (3,359 children)

Marcelo explained that “underweight” indicates low weight for age, “wasting” reflects low weight for height, “stunting” refers to a child who is too short for their age, while “overweight” signifies excessive body weight for a person’s height.

He further emphasized that the decline in these indicators is a positive sign of the province’s improved health and nutrition interventions, which was discussed by other panelists who joined the press conference as part of the 50th Nutrition Month kickoff celebration.

Present were representatives from the National Nutrition Council VI, Department of Health-Philippine Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Project (DOH-PMNP), Department of Education Division of Iloilo, Iloilo Provincial Agriculture Office, and Negrense Volunteers for Change, Inc.

NNC VI introduced their Tutok Kainan Dietary Supplementation Program, aimed at enhancing the dietary quality and intake of nutritionally vulnerable groups, particularly undernourished pregnant women and children aged six months to three years.

Additionally, the NVC shared their Mingo Meals Nutrition Program, offering nutritious instant complementary food made from rice, mongo, and sesame seeds for malnourished children.

The DepEd presented its various initiatives to promote the health and well-being of school children, while the Provincial Agriculture Office discussed the MoRProGRes Gardens, which incorporate the production of high-value crops to ensure food security, decrease poverty, and promote agri-tourism in Iloilo.

The panel discussion also stressed the importance of partnerships and collaborations with stakeholders, particularly local government units (LGUs), to achieve a malnutrition-free province of Iloilo.

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