HOW about “rice-mongo curls,” nutritious porridge, rice-mongo instant blend and other pre-cooked weaning/baby foods such as banana soybean, banana peanut, gabi papaya, kamote-papaya, papaya-banana, mongo-kamote-sesame?
Dr. Mario Capanzana, director, FNRI-DOST (Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology), said that, since 2011, nutritious complementary foods have been served to kids as early as 6-36 months which is now part of their nutrition intervention strategy to address malnutrition in the country.
“Undernutrition remains to be a public health problem among 0-5 years old children,” Capanzana said in presenting an “Assessment of FNRI’s National Nutrition Survey with Focus on Malnutrition Rates” during a media roundtable discussion hosted by Infant Pediatric and Nutrition Association of the Philippine highlighting their participation in “Oh My Gulay: Renewing the culture of vegetable gardening.”
Capanzana said that, based on 2011 National Nutrition Survey, 2 in every 10 Filipino children aged 0-5 years are underweight-for-age; 3 in every 10 Filipino children aged 0-5 years are under-height-for-age or stunted.
He also reported increasing trend of overweight or obesity among children as shown by a trend in 2005, 2008, 2011.
Capanzana said there is a need to introduce nutritious foods such as vegetables at an early age for his health and for the child to get accustom to complementary foods and get used to it until he/she gets older, noting the increasing trend of stunted kids which is an irreversible one.
He said that the period from 6 months to below 3 years old is the stage when rapid growth and development takes place; the vulnerable age to malnutrition and infection, irreversible long term physical and mental damage, and window of opportunity intervention.
On the current target of intervention on children, Capanzana said that the Department of Health (DOH) along with the international community have been advocating for the exclusive breastfeeding of mothers as a policy on the 0-6 months babies, adding the DSWD supported and provided lot of funds for supplementary feeding on 3-6 years of old, while the DepdEd subscribed to feeding program for 6- 12 years children, with no champions for the nutrition of 6-36 months children.
Capanzana said that the DOST Pinoy (Package for the Improvement of Nutrition of Young) Children: A Nutrition Intervention Strategy addresses the malnutrition problem targeting the 6-36 months children.
He said intervention program had gained success in pilot areas or so-called areas with high malnutrition rates feeding more than 1000 children in Iloilo, Leyte, Occidental Mindoro and Antique, thus resulted to significant decrease of underweight.
The DOST-FNRI has continuously made effort to establish linkages and partners adoption of the DOST Pinoy Strategy, particularly through the LGU, to support the program for young children by steeping up production facility for complementary foods.
Under the program, FNRI provides technical assistance in the production of the complementary foods and training of community workers on the undertaking.
Likewise, linkages and partnership continues with the adoption of the strategy on the following: Negrense Volunteers for Change in Bacolod City, Antipolo City, Rizal and Quezon.
Pilot testing of DOST program in Taguig, Tobias Fornier in Antique in implementing the program with complementary foods produced by the University of Antique-Sibalom campus, the province of Occidental Mindoro in the adoption of the DOST complementary technology, adoption of the technology of LGU Palo and Baybay, Leyte.
“FNRI is a research institute so we need to advocate and present a model as part of DOST Hits (High Impact Technology Solutions) by focusing on malnutrition reduction,” Capanzana said. PNA