THE Food and Nutrition Research Institute-Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST) released the initial results of the National Nutrition Survey 2013 during the Nutrition Summit on June 26. The stunting (low height-for-age) prevalence among children age 0-5 years significantly decreased from 33.6 percent in 2011 to 30.3 percent in 2013. The three regions with lowest share of stunted children age 0-5 years are NCR (22.4 percent), Central Luzon (23.1 percent) and CALABARZON (25.3 percent); while those with highest stunting burden are Bicol (39.8 percent), ARMM (39.0 percent) and Zamboanga Peninsula (38.7%). There was also a significant decline in stunting among children age 5.08-10.00 years from 33.6% in 2011 to 29.9% in 2013, and among adolescents age 10.08-19.00 years from 35.7% in 2011 to 31.5% in 2013. Stunting is a result of long-term food and nutrient deprivation that retards physical growth and cognitive development, and increases the risk to illnesses that may later affect economic productivity.
There was also a small decline in the underweight (low weight-for-age) prevalence among children age 0-5 years from 20.2% in 2011 to 19.9%. NCR (12.9%), CAR (16.5%) and Northern Mindanao (17.7%) had the lowest prevalence of underweight children age 0-5 years while MIMAROPA (27.5%), Western Visayas (26.0%) and Bicol (24.6%) had the highest prevalence. Better results are seen among children age 5.08-10.00 years, indicating a significant decrease in underweight from 32.0% in 2011 to 29.0% in 2013.
Wasting/thinness (low weight-for-height) among children age 0-5 years however significantly went up from 7.3% in 2011 to 7.9% in 2013. Ilocos, MIMAROPA and Western Visayas had the highest prevalence at 9.8%, 9.8% and 8.9% respectively. CAR (5.9%), NCR (6.4%) and SOCCSKSARGEN (6.7%) on the other hand had the lowest prevalence of wasted children, 0-5 years old. Wasting among children age 5.08-10.00 years increased insignificantly from 8.5% in 2011 to 8.6% in 2013 but decreased from 12.7% in 2011 to 12.4% in 2013 among adolescents. Severe wasting particularly among young children is associated with nine times higher risk to mortality compared to mildly wasted and well-nourished children (WHO and UNICEF, 2009). n