NNC to launch SUN versus malnutrition

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon (The Freeman) - December 5, 2015 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines – The National Nutrition Council-7 will soon launch the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement (SUN) amid the reported prevalence of malnutrition among Filipino children.

 The Philippines is one of the 55 countries that are signatories to SUN, which identifies ways to bring people and institutions together to better convene, mobilize, share, learn, advocate, align, and coordinate actions that contribute to ending malnutrition in all its forms.

Parolita Mission, NNC-7 nutrition program coordinator, said that this movement focuses on the “First 1,000 days” in the life of a child from the time of conception.

“We are emphasizing in this program the importance of proper nutrition and the importance of breastfeeding,” said Mission during the Media Information Network and Development-7 Core Group Meeting recently.

MIND-7 is an organization of media practitioners in tri-media in Central Visayas that promotes nutrition and related issues and concerns.

During the meeting, MIND-7 was able to plot its priority projects and programs for 2016. The organization believes that maternal health care is a joint responsibility of the mother, spouse, partner, family and the community.

It also encourages people especially the mothers to value the importance of breastfeeding during her/his child’s first 1,000 days, which is crucial of the child’s development; and the most effective way to combat malnutrition is through breastfeeding.

The 55 SUN Movement Country Networks including the Philippines participated in this year’s global gathering to take stock of the lessons from the past years and chart the direction of the Movement for 2016-2020 in line with Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, and its potential impact for improving nutrition.

In a statement, NNC said that in the Philippines, the 2013 National Nutrition Survey (NNS) reported that 3 out of 10 or 30.3% children among 0-5 years old were stunted or were too short for their height.

The prevalence rate may have decreased compared to 2003 NNS result which is 33.9% but is still slow for a decade’s progress.

Chronic malnutrition is measured by stunting, which takes a long time to develop, but will severely cause failure to grow leading to lower physical capacity, and mental skills and activity.

It also poses infants to greater risk of premature death; survivors have compromised immunity, and are at higher chance for developing infections, heart disease, diabetes and kidney infections.

It added that  mothers who are chronically malnourished as children will in turn give birth to low birth weight babies, and malnutrition shall be passed on to future generations like a vicious cycle.

Undernutrition can result in children either being short of their age (stunted) or children weighing less for their height (wasted).

Wasting is a deadly form of undernutrition which increases the risk of child’s death.

Undernutrition is the underlying cause of almost half (45%) of child’s death in the world.

In the Philippines, around 34,675 Filipino children die every year due to undernutrition or 95 Filipino children die each day due to undernutrition.

A policy brief of the 1,000 days stated that one of the global nutrition targets for 2025 is 40% reduction in stunting and the country is committed on this target under the global SUN.

It said that ensuring optimal nutrition in the 1,000 days from a mother’s pregnancy up to the child’s second year of life is the answer.

“The 1,000 days is crucial for the physical and mental growth of children. It is a pathway out of poverty for poor households and a driver of growth for countries,” the policy brief stated.

Among the nutrition interventions listed include adequate nutrition and care during pregnancy, micronutrient supplementation of women and children, fortification of food and iodization of salt, protect optimal breastfeeding practices, support breastfeeding in the workplace, strengthen community-based support for breastfeeding, hospitals and health facilities should support breastfeeding, among others. —/FPL (FREEMAN)

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