The National Nutrition Council’s radio program Radyo Mo sa Nutrisyon and its hosts, Assistant Secretary of Health Maria-Bernardita T. Flores (A/Sec Bernie Flores) and Rod Marcelino, were recognized as Best Development-Oriented Talk Show and Best Development-Oriented Talk Show Hosts at the 9th Gandingan Awards, respectively. The awards are two of the Core Awards given during the awards night held on 21 March 2015 at Dioscoro L.Umali Hall, University of the Philippines Los Baños.
Radyo Mo sa Nutrisyon is a nutrition block time radio program of the NNC aired over DZXL AM 558 kHz, every Saturday at 12:30-1:00 PM. It is anchored by the excellent tandem of A/Sec Bernie Flores and Mr. Rod Marcelino, one of DZXL’s seasoned broadcasters. The radio program discusses various concerns particularly on nutrition, health, social protection, food security, poverty reduction and other related issues.
Gandingan is an award giving body, facilitated by the UP Community Broadcasters’ Society, that recognizes efforts of different people, programs and materials from the broadcast industry in both the national and community level. The award has three major categories: Special, Core and General Awards. The Core Awards is the newest category that gives recognition to development-oriented community- and school-based broadcast stations, programs and professionals.
Assistant Secretary of Health and NNC Executive Director Maria-Bernardita T. Flores explained that this year’s Nutrition Month will focus on overweight and obesity. The 2015 Nutrition Month campaign aims to increase awareness on the role and importance of proper nutrition and physical activity in the prevention of overweight and obesity among the general public. It also aims to encourage Filipinos to make positive decisions towards consumption of healthy diets and be physically active to prevent non-communicable diseases as a result of overweight and obesity.
A/Sec. Flores further noted that more and more Filipinos, especially adults are becoming fat. Among adults 20 years old and above, the prevalence of overweight and obesity increased from 16.6% in 1993 to 31.1% in 2013. Actually, “women tend to be fatter than men with the prevalence at 34.4% for females and 27.5% for males.” Aside from the use of weight for height as a measure of obesity, the high waist circumference and high waist hip ratio among adults has also been increasing. The same trend was noted among preschoolers and school-aged children. Currently, overweight and obesity prevalence among children is at 5% while among teenagers it is at 8.3%. Analysis of the 2013 national nutrition survey results showed that children who belong to wealthier families tend to be more overweight and obese than those coming from poorer households. While these figures are a cause for concern, it is to be noted that undernutrition (underweight, stunting and wasting) is also a major problem. Thus, the country is faced with the so-called double burden of malnutrition. Overweight and obesity is also a risk factor to non-communicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Despite significant advancements in recent years, many countries in Southeast Asia still face the triple burden of malnutrition – undernourishment, micronutrient deficiencies and obesity.
To address the long standing problem of malnutrition, the Philippines’ National Nutrition Council (NNC) will host the 2nd ASEAN Nutrition Surveillance Workshop-Conference to pursue the establishment of an ASEAN Nutrition Surveillance System, where delegates from the 10 ASEAN member-states are set to meet on 24-28 February 2015 in Makati City.
The objective of the project under the program “ASEAN Collaborative Project on Nutrition,” is to promote the sharing of information along challenges and good practices in improving nutrition condition, measuring progress using key indicators, and harmonized methodology toward attainment of regional and global goals through an ASEAN Nutrition Surveillance System Strategic Plan.
This process of nutritional surveillance can facilitate decision-making in relation to current and future policies, and direct targeting for health, nutrition and general development programs. Surveillance information can be utilized to promote actions that will alleviate or prevent malnutrition in the population on the individual, family, community, national and within the ASEAN region.
Almost a hundred participants from the 25 Nutriskwela community radio stations in 15 regions across the country and NNC technical staff from the central and regional offices attended the conference. This year’s Nutriskwela Conference provided a venue for the community radio stations to be updated on nutrition interventions and share experiences along the use of the radio station in disaster and emergency management, promotion of nutrition and along community development. Mr. Louie Tabing of Tambuli Foundation also known as the Father of Community Radio in the Philippines discussed the basic concepts of community radio operations. It was also noted during the conference that the prevalence of underweight in the areas where the community radio stations are located has improved over recent years.
In her message during the opening program of the conference, Assistant Secretary of Health and NNC Executive Director Maria-Bernardita T. Flores emphasized the importance of the Nutriskwela community radio stations opening up and maintaining linkages with LGUs and other community-based organizations, especially for those campus-based stations. A/Sec Flores also announced that NNC will be expanding the Nutriskwela network to another 10 stations this year. She added that the Nutriskwela program continues to grow stronger since it started in 2008.
The Nutriskwela Community Radio Network program is a long-term, cost efficient strategy to address malnutrition in areas with high prevalence of malnutrition and without or limited access to commercial radio by disseminating correct, current and relevant information on nutrition, health, food, and from all sectors of the community, the national government agencies, and non-government organizations.
After the back-to-back Awareness Raising Forum and Level 1 Training on the IPC (Integrated Food Security Phase Classification) Protocol for Chronic Food Insecurity Analysis held 28-29 October 2014 and17-21 November, respectively, the analysis workshop to generate the first Philippines chronic food insecurity map will be held. The workshop is scheduled on 20-24 January under the facilitation of 2 technical experts from the IPC Global Support Unit of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, Italy.
The analysis will focus on classifying the 18 provinces of the Philippines that include 13 priority provinces of the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) according to IPC’s four levels of chronic food insecurity (low, moderate, high, and very high).
The IPC analysts are composed of the 31IPC-trained sectoral staff from government, nongovernment organizations, academia, and UN agencies. Ongoing preparation include data sharing and processing in preparation for the analysis proper using the web-based tool called the information support system (ISS). Data sources include the DOST-FNRI for anthropometric and food security data, and the Philippines Statistics Authority for poverty statistics and food and income expenditure data. IPC aims to provide decision-makers information on the severity, magnitude and determinants of chronic food insecurity in identified priority provinces to guide in nutrition and food security policy and program formulation.
As the institutional home of IPC in the Philippines, the National Nutrition Council of the DOH with support from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) provides overall directions in the implementation of IPC in the Philippines since 2008. IPC is being implemented at various levels in over 50 countries, to provide globally comparable and robust food security analyses, for better understanding of acute and chronic food insecurity situations and evidence-based nutrition and food security decisions.
Assistant Secretary Bernie Flores led the Philippine delegation for the 2nd International Conference on Nutrition held at the FAO Headquarters in Rome, Italy on 19-21 November 2014.
The 2nd ICN was an inclusive inter-governmental meeting on nutrition jointly organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the World Health Organization (WHO) both of the United Nations.
It was a high-level ministerial conference that adopted a flexible policy framework to address today's major nutrition challenges and priorities for enhanced international cooperation on nutrition.
ICN2 brought together national leaders, senior national policymakers from agriculture, health and other relevant ministries and agencies, leaders of United Nations agencies and other intergovernmental organizations and civil society, including non-governmental organizations, researchers, the private sector and consumers.
The conference reviewed the progress in improving nutrition since the first ICN in 1992, reflecting on nutrition problems that remain, as well as on the new challenges and opportunities for improving nutrition presented by changes in the global economy, in food systems, by advances in science and technology.
It then identified policy and program options for improving nutrition, to be implemented according to the unique conditions of each country.
The National Nutrition Council will pursue in 2015 the conduct of a series of capacity building activities for 30 selected municipalities of the country as part of NNC’s strategy to capacitate local government units. The Early Warning System for Food and Nutrition Security is a component of the Philippine Food and Nutrition Surveillance System (PFNSS) that is intended to enable LGUs to take timely nutrition action through early detection of a worsening nutrition situation based on monitoring of nutrition and nutrition-related indicators.
The NNC, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations started the conduct of trainings for municipal and city level personnel on the Early Warning System for Food and Nutrition Security in the municipality of Botolan, in Zambales and in Panabo City, Davao del Norte in the 3rd quarter of 2014. This was followed by consultative meetings and training for local teams in another 8 local government units as part of the initial roll-out of the project in 2014. Another 20 cities/municipalities will be prioritized for 2015, this time through the joint efforts of NNC and FAO with support from UNICEF.
The training on Early Warning System for Food and Nutrition Security for LGUs includes 12 technical sessions, from basic concepts of data collection, nutrition and nutrition-related data analysis, to maintenance of the food and nutrition security early warning system. Participants include heads of offices of nutrition, social welfare and development, health, agriculture, planning and development and the local Sangguniang Bayan or Sangguniang Panlungsod. Barangay-based workers specifically the Barangay Nutrition Scholars and Barangay Health Workers together with the Rural Health Midwife are also trained on household data collection and analysis to enable them to correctly determine changes in household dietary patterns and growth of children 0-71 months, track hunger episodes and identify coping mechanisms of households, in the identified sentinel barangays.
An executive order creating the local Early Warning System for Food and Nutrition Security Team is issued by the partner LGUs to formalize the establishment of the Early Warning System for Food and Nutrition Security System in the community to ensure its sustained implementation .
Technical staff of the NNC Regional Offices have also been trained on the Early Warning System for Food and Nutrition Security to assist LGUs in the system’s establishment and maintenance and in its scaling up nationwide.
The Early Warning System for Food and Nutrition Security was modelled as a component of the Joint Programme of the Millennium Development Goals Fund (MDG-F) and later as a component of the Maternal and Young Child Nutrition Security Initiative in Asia project (MYCNSIA) of FAO and NNC.