A Binay presidency will work to bring down significantly the number of malnourished children in the country,” Joey Salgado, chief for media affairs of the Office of the Vice President, said on Thursday.
According to the 8th National Nutrition Survey (NNS) of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST), 19.9 percent of children ages 0 to 5 are underweight.
The number is slightly lower than the 20.2 percent registered in 2011, Salgado noted.
Wasting or thinness (low weight-for-height), meanwhile, increased to 7.9 percent from 7.3 percent in 2011, the report said.
Stunting (low height-for-age) also went down, from 33.6 percent in 2011 to 30.3 percent in 2013.
“The highest prevalences of underweight, stunting and wasting are among those in the rural areas,” the report said.
Among the regions, the top 3 with the highest undernutrition prevalences are: for underweight–Mimaropa (27.5 percent), Western Visayas (25.9 percent) and Bicol (24.6 percent); while for stunting–Bicol (39.8 percent), ARMM (39 percent) and Zamboanga Peninsula (38.7 percent); for wasting/ thinness–Mimaropa (9.8 percent), Ilocos Region (9.8 percent) and Western Visayas (8.9 percent), the NNS showed.
Mimaropa groups the provinces of Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental, Romblon and Palawan.
ARMM is the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
Salgado said promoting nutritional adequacy, especially to high-risk groups like children, has long been an advocacy of Vice President Jejomar Binay.
“[Binay began this advocacy when he was mayor of Makati City]. In fact, Makati’s malnutrition rate continues to be the lowest in Metro Manila,” he added.
Salgado credits Makati’s low malnutrition rate to the health and nutrition programs of the city implemented through the Makati Health Department (MHD) and its nutrition office that date back to the term of the Vice President and continued by Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay.
Records from the Operation Timbang Plus (OTP) results of the National Nutrition Council-NCR (NNC-NCR or Metro Manila) show that Makati has consistently registered less than one percent prevalence of undernourished children under 6 years old in the past five years, the latest at o.64 percent in 2014.
Because of this, the city has also been a consistent recipient of the Nutrition Honor Award, the highest award given by the NNC.
Makati has pioneered programs to decrease the number of people suffering from hunger and malnutrition, including an expanded immunization program, the first local government-run human milk bank and feeding program for elementary school pupils.
“We shall stress on preventive rather than curative aspects of public health. Preventive here refers to measures to prevent diseases such as mass immunization or vaccination, sanitation, nutrition, healthy lifestyles and alternative and/or generic drugs via information, communication and education campaigns, community-based health programs and traditional medicine,” Binay previously said.