Malnutrition in Philippine

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http://www.manilatimes.net/national/2006/june/11/yehey/top_stories/20060611top2.html

Sunday, June 11, 2006

 

What malnutrition does  to Filipino school kids

By The Manila Times Research staff

MILLIONS of Filipino children go to school without proper or enough nutrients and energy to help them through the day. Getting through the work and learning of a day in school can be fun for a well-fed pupil. It is usually painful for a malnourished child.

Of every 100 primary school-age children, 26 were underweight and 37 were underheight or short, the latest nutrition survey (2003) done by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) of the Department of Science and Technology.

“Being underheight or short reflects current malnutrition or a long-standing poor nutritional status,” the research institute said.

This was an improvement over the finding that 33 out of every 100 were underweight and 41 out of every 100 were underheight in 2001.

Being underweight means a child’s weight relative to her/his age is less than that of a normal child and being underheight or short means his/her height is less than that of a normal child of the same age. On the other hand, being overweight—which is another sign of malnutrition—is when a child’s weight is much more than that of a normal child of the same age.

The 1998 National Nutrition Survey conducted by FNRI-DOST saw four malnutrition problems of Filipino children—protein-energy malnutrition, iron deficiency anemia, vitamin A deficiency and iodine deficiency disorders.

Dr. Ma. Veritas Fajos-Luna, chairman and associate professor of the Department of Food and Nutrition at the University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD), explained that being protein-energy malnourished means that the children do not have enough calories to burn, especially for physical and mental activities.

“The truth here is that Filipinos consume more than 100 percent of the recommended daily allowance for protein but it’s the calories that we are lacking,” Fojas-Luna said. She says calories from carbohydrates are the main sources of energy.

Based on the dietary survey done every five years by FNRI, only protein meets the corresponding recommended daily allowance (RDA) at 106.2 percent while energy is 87.8 percent of RDA, and intakes of vitamins and minerals remain “grossly inadequate,” which ranges from 57.1 percent to 88.1 percent.

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