IPHO: Malnutrition in Iloilo has declined since 2020

Photo from Balita Halin sa Kapitolyo FB page

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

The province of Iloilo reported a significant decline in malnutrition prevalence from 2020 to 2023, the Iloilo Provincial Health Office (IPHO) said.

“The nutritional status of the province in the past 3 years is improving which means that our malnutrition prevalence is decreasing in terms of different parameters, specifically underweight, wasting, stunting, and overweight,” said Dr. Wendel Tupas Marcelo of the IPHO.

Data from the IPHO shows a continuous decline in underweight prevalence from 3.47 percent in 2020 to 2.44 percent in 2023.

Meanwhile, the incidence of wasting decreased from 2.12 percent in 2020 to 1.11 percent in 2023.

Similarly, the incidence of stunting decreased from 8.73 percent in 2020 to 4.84 percent in 2023, while the incidence of overweight dropped from 3.30 percent in 2020 to 2.26 percent in 2023.

The Department of Health Western Visayas (DOH-6) director Dr. Adriano Suba-an also said that the incidence of malnutrition in the province has “gradually decreased” but highlighted that some barangays are still facing the “triple burden of malnutrition,”

The triple burden of malnutrition is the coexistence of undernutrition (stunting and wasting), micronutrient deficiencies (often termed hidden hunger), and overnutrition (overweight and obesity).

“While that at the provincial level is decreasing, there are towns that still have problems. There are barangays that are being left behind when it comes to nutrition accomplishment,” he said.

Marcelo attributed the continuous decline in the different parameters of malnutrition to the “integrated and comprehensive response and strategies in the nutrition program of the provincial government.

Among the IPHO programs in response to malnutrition is the “ART RESPONSE,” which includes various activities such as adequate food production, rehabilitation of malnutrition, and education to promote good nutrition and behavior change, among others.

As part of the ART RESPONSE, Wendel said the IPHO is establishing outpatient therapeutic care to support the treatment of children suffering from severe acute malnutrition into the ongoing routine health and nutrition services.

The IPHO official also highlighted the inaugural conduct of the Punong Barangay Nutrition Congress earlier this April.

The congress underscored the role of village officials in championing the Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition for 2023–2028 and in supporting nutrition programs of the provincial government.