More than 500 Nutrition Action Officers (NAOs) from all over the country were gathered by the National Nutrition Council (NNC) to address the call for action to end malnutrition in the country. The NAOs, who are coordinators of nutrition programs of local governments, are critical in ensuring that local governments prioritize nutrition programs. During the 4th National Conference of Nutrition Action Officers, NAOs were urged to contribute to bringing down the rate of malnutrition especially among children.
While there have been improvements in the nutritional status of Filipinos in the past, the problem remains. Currently, 33 percent of children 0-4 years old are stunted or short for their age while 7.1% of the same age group are wasted (or low weight for height). Stunting results to delayed motor development, impaired mental development and poor school performance. Stunting often starts in the first two years of life and is mostly irreversible. Children who are wasted are likely to die as a result of lack of food or infectious disease.