THE Philippines can solve the problem of child malnutrition if every child gets nutritious food within 1,000 days from conception, an international non-government organization said on Thursday.
Neil Olney, country director of Save the Children, said the Philippines is in a better position to solve malnutrition like Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand.
He said 2.7 million Filipino children aged zero to 10 are forced to skip at least one meal a day, while a staggering 1.5 million children go to sleep at night without eating.
Meanwhile, 64 percent of children in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao are food insecure, which means that their families are not sure if they will have food at all. Socsargen (South Cotabato, Sarang¬gani and General Santos City) comes next with 45 percent. The Autonomous Region of Cordillera has the lowest incidence of food security at 7.5 percent.
Overall, the country’s 40 percent homes are food insecure with 24 percent living in extreme poverty, which also means that one out of 10 families is very poor.
Olney said malnutrition results in child stunting. Thirty percent of Filipino children are stunted, which is comparable to poor African nations like Kenya with 33 percent and Ghana with 34 percent. This means that 3.6 million Filipinos are stunted.
“Malnutrition is undermining children’s development, economic growth and people’s capacity to get their way out of poverty. By tackling child malnutrition alongside poverty and food security, we are helping save and tap full potentials of millions of Filipino children,” he said.
Filipinos are the second shortest in the world with men averaging 5’3 and women averaging 4’11. Singapo¬reans are the tallest in Southeast Asia with an average height of 5’7 for men and 5’3 for women.
Save the Children Philippines launched its “Lahat Dapat” campaign on Thursday, a program wherein no child should be left behind in the campaign to give them nutritious food in their first three years of life.