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Freeman Cebu Entertainment

Celebrity moms empower parents to beat childhood stunting

The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — Global statistics show childhood malnutrition is still a persistent health burden, including in the Philippines.  According to the Department of Health, 1 in 4 children aged five and below are short for their age or stunted.  Abbott is increasing awareness and working together with mom celebrities and communities to tackle stunting among children in the Philippines.

Abbott’s Growth Watch initiative shines a light on childhood stunting, a form of malnutrition. It aims to empower parents to screen for and recognize stunting in their children so that they can improve their children’s nutrition, if needed.

Stunting can challenge a child’s development, impact their overall health and limit their future potential. Children affected by stunting can be at risk of significant immune deficiencies, compromised cognitive function, behavioral problems, diminished bone health, and decreased muscle mass. The Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition 2023-2028 identified poor feeding practices and low nutrition literacy among the causes of malnutrition in the country.  Additionally, 2 in 3 Filipino moms don’t recognize stunting as an important child development issue.

"There is a clear need to educate parents on the prevalence and impact of childhood stunting on growth and development," explains Dr. Jose Dimaano Jr., nutrition medical affairs director for Abbott in Pacific Asia. "Early identification of growth issues and quick intervention for children found to be at risk of nutrition deficiency can have a profound impact on the fight against stunting. This is why Abbott is taking a multidisciplinary approach in supporting parents by working with communities and healthcare practitioners to provide tools and information to spot the signs of malnutrition and take action."

In collaborating with celebrity moms Chesca Kramer, Nadine Samonte, Divine Lee, Nina Corpuz, influencers and online mom communities, Abbott intends to increase awareness of stunting and support parents with tools and educational resources that can help children reach their full growth potential.

''Since its inception in 2021, Growth Watch has educated and reached more than 161,000 families, and the goal is to double the reach by the end of next year,'' said Angelico Escobar, general manager of Abbott’s nutrition business in the Philippines.

"Abbott is driven by our mission to help children have a healthy start and reach their optimal growth. We know that malnutrition is complex and affects children’s growth across all socioeconomic classes. The work of Growth Watch is one of Abbott’s efforts to fight global malnutrition and to help children achieve their growth potential through measurement and proper nutrition.''

In 2021, Abbott launched the Abbott Center for Malnutrition Solutions, an initiative to reduce malnutrition. The center, a collaboration between Abbott and external experts and partners, is focused on the identification, treatment and prevention of malnutrition for the most vulnerable populations in the world including children, aging adults and under-resourced populations. The Growth Watch initiative also contributes toward Abbott's 2030 Sustainability Plan goal to transform care for malnutrition, chronic and infectious diseases.

As part of the Growth Watch initiative, parents and guardians are invited to join mom communities to establish the habit of measuring their children’s height, and provide proper nutrition to safeguard the growth, well-being and development of children across the country.

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MALNUTRITION IN THE PHILIPPINES

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