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Malnutrition, obesity a bipolar problem in Philippines

By RJ Whitehead , 02-Oct-2012
Last updated on 03-Oct-2012 at 08:56 GMT

A Filipino research institute has reviewed the findings of a report that outlines the level of nutrition of selected population groups.

The Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) of the Department of Science and Technology conducted a regional dissemination forum on the results of the “Survey on Updating of the Nutritional Status of Selected Filipinos” in Baguio City. 

Dr Jocelyn Juguan, research specialist of FNRI, said the survey serves to provide updated information on the nutritional status of Filipino children and other population groups, and other nutrition-related information to help form policy decisions and human development programmes. 

She said the FNRI had been mandated to undertake research that would define the population’s nutritional status, its causes and effects, and identify alternative solutions for them. 

Our nutritional survey take place every five years, and we update and assess them in between,” Juguan told FoodNavigator-Asia. "The wealth of information it provides us with allows us to help shape policy. We give the information to the health minister and he implements programmes based on it." 

The survey covered 17 regions, 79 provinces and the National Capital Region, and questioned almost 40,000 households and 200,000 individuals nationwide. 

According to Juguan, the survey has especially highlighted stunting for 0-60-month-old children.

"With this data, we are finding that stunting begins after the first year, which suggests that there are problems with complementary feeding. With this information, we can develop technology for complementary foods, such as mongo-rice blends and nutritious curds."

Overweight adolescents and obesity among adults of 19 years and above are other burning issues, according to the survey.

Survey's key findings

The survey found that the prevalence of underweight children under five years old stands at just over 2%, while the total of overweight children is 4.3%. 

The number of underweight children rises in the five-to-10 age group to 32%, while over 33% are stunted and 8.5% wasted. The total of overweight children stands at 7.5%. 

A total of 35% of adolescents between 10 and 19 years are stunted, while seven in every hundred were found to be obese.

Among Filipino adults, one in every 10 was found to be chronically energy deficient, while over 28% per cent are either overweight or obese. 

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