What is the National Nutrition Council?

The National Nutrition Council was created by Presidential Decree 491 (1974) as the country's highest policy-making and coordinating body on nutrition.

The NNC Governing Board is the collegial body that is chaired by the Secretary of Health. The Board is composed of ten government organizations (DOH, DA, DILG, DepED, DSWD, DTI, DOLE, DOST, DBM and NEDA) represented by their secretaries, and three representatives from the private sector who are appointed by the President for a two-year term with possible reappointment.


What are the functions/mandates of NNC?

1. Formulate national food and nutrition policies and strategies;

2. Coordinate planning, monitoring, and evaluation of the national nutrition program;

3. Coordinate the release of funds, loans, and grants from government organizations and nongovernment

    organizations; and

4. Call on any department, bureau, office, agency and other instrumentalities of the government for assistance in

the form of personnel, facilities and resources as the need arises.

Additional mandates:

Salt Iodization Advisory Board for policy and planning and coordination of salt iodization program (RA 8172, 1995)

    • Review and recommend levels and vehicles for fortification (RA 8976)
    • Prioritize hunger and malnutrition (EO 472, 2006)
    • Oversight of the Accelerated Hunger-Mitigation Program (EO 616, 2007)
  • What is the current nutrition situation of the country?

The National Nutrition Survey is conducted by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute every five years.

Results of the 8th National Nutrition Survey conducted in 2013 showed that:

• Among preschoolers, 0-5 years old

? 20 out of every 100 preschoolers are underweight

30 out  of every 100 preschoolers are stunted

8 out of 100 preschoolers are wasted or thin

• Among school-age children, 6-10 years old

30 out of every 100 children are underweight

? 30 out of every 100 children are stunted

    • The 2013 NNS also showed that anemia affected

40 out of every 100 infants, 6-11 months old

11 out of every 100 children, 6 to 12 years old

• 25 out of every 100 pregnant and 17 out of every 100 breastfeeding women


What is the Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition?

The Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition (PPAN) is the country's response to malnutrition. It is an integral component of the Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan. PPAN provides the framework for improving the nutritional status of Filipinos. It also contributes to the achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals as well as poverty reduction and hunger-mitigation.


What is the Barangay Nutrition Scholars Program?

The Barangay Nutrition Scholar (BNS) Program is a human resource development strategy of the Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition, which involves the training, deployment and supervision of volunteer workers or barangay nutrition scholars (BNS). This strategy was mandated with the promulgation of Presidential Decree No. 1569 on 11 July 1978, which requires the deployment of one (1) BNS in every barangay and for the National Nutrition Council (NNC) to administer the program in cooperation with local government units (LGUs).


What are the qualifications of a BNS?

A BNS is a trained community worker who links the community with service providers, with the following qualifications:

1. bonafide resident of the barangay for at least four years and can speak the dialect well;

2. possess leadership potentials as evidenced by membership and leadership in community organizations;

3. willing to serve the barangay, part-time or full-time for at least one year;

4. at least elementary graduate but preferably has reached high school level;

5. physically and mentally fit;

6. more than 18 years old, but not more than 60 years old.

What are the basic tasks of a BNS?

1. The BNS identifies, locates underweight children through a community survey called Operation Timbang. This survey involves weighing all preschoolers and interviewing mothers to determine how the child is cared for, and the resources available in the family for their participation in nutrition and related interventions.

2. The BNS moves the community to organize into networks of 20-25 households, or into community-based organizations working for the improvement of their nutrition situation.

3. In the presence of other barangay-based development workers, the BNS may not necessarily deliver direct nutrition services to the community but serve as linkage-builder, to ensure that members of the community, especially those with underweight children, avail of nutrition and related services. The BNS must be aware of the services available and of those who need these services, and establish a system through which those needing certain services are referred to the appropriate service provider.

4. The BNS assists in delivering nutrition and related services which include:

a. Organizing caregiver's class or community nutrition education

b. Providing nutrition counseling services, especially on exclusive breastfeeding and appropriate complementary feeding, through home visits

c. Managing community-based feeding programs under the supervision of a nutritionist-dietitian;

d. Distributing seeds, seedlings, and small animals from the local agriculture office and other government organizations and nongovernment organizations to promote home or community food gardens; and

e. Informing the community on scheduled immunization and other health activities but always together with the local midwife, agriculture officer, social welfare officer, and other workers.

5. To help other barangay workers and the local officials, the BNS keeps a record of the results of the regular weighings as well a record on the nutrition and health profile of families in the barangay. The BNS also formulates a BNS Action Plan as guide in managing the different tasks assigned to him/her. The BNS also prepares a record of monthly accomplishments to monitor his or her performance in relation to the action plan. The record helps identify adjustments in the plan of action to meet targets set. The BNS also keeps track of his or her daily activities through a diary. The diary should list not only the BNS's activities but also observations and insights as may be appropriate.


 What are the benefits given to BNS?

? The BNS can avail of a second grade civil service eligibility, after completing two consecutive years of satisfactory service, by filing the proper application with the regional office of the Civil Service Commission. This gives the BNS a chance to become a full-pledged civil servant should the BNS qualify for a vacant position in the local government.

? The BNS receives a very meager monthly traveling allowance from the NNC, with counterpart from the provincial, city, municipal or barangay governments. The amount of the allowance varies depending on the financial capability of the LGUs. In addition, BNSs from LGUs that submit a request to the NNC Manila are covered by a GSIS accident insurance.

? Newly trained BNSs also receive (from NNC) a bag, a T-shirt and a set of nutrition information materials to be shared with the other members of the community. BNSs also receive various material incentives like uniform, jacket, etc, from the LGU.

? When the BNS does his/her work well, he/she could be chosen as an outstanding BNS in the municipality, city, province or region; and may even be a national outstanding BNS.


What is the Promote Good Nutrition (PGN) Component of the Accelerated Hunger-Mitigation Program?

The Promote Good Nutrition component of AHMP aims to improve the nutrition knowledge, attitudes and practices of families to increase demand for adequate, nutritious and safe food.


What are the objectives of the PGN component?

? Increase the number of infants 0-6 months who are exclusively breastfed;

? Increase the number of infants 6-11 months old who are given calorie and nutrient-dense complementary foods; and

? Increase the number of families with improved diets in terms of quality and quantity and involved in food production activities.


What are the key messages being promoted in the PGN?

? For primary targets (i.e. pregnant women and mothers of 0-2 years old children) – to practice proper infant and young child feeding (IYCF)

• Initiate breastfeeding within 1 hour from birth

• Practice exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months

• Introduce appropriate complementary foods not earlier than 6 months

• Continue breastfeeding up to 2 years and beyond

? For the general population to practice the Nutritional Guidelines for Filipinos


How is the PGN component managed?

The National Nutrition Council provides overall program management. At the local level, the inter-agency, multi-sectoral local nutrition committees chaired by the local chief executives implements the PGN component. The nutrition action officer coordinates the implementation of the PGN within the LGU. The NNC Regional Offices provides technical and administrative support to the AHMP provinces.


What is OPT Plus (Operation Timbang Plus) and what are their uses?

Operation Timbang Plus is the annual weighing and height measurement of all preschoolers 0-71 months old in a community to identify and locate the malnourished children. Data generated through OPT Plus are used for local nutrition action planning, particularly in quantifying the number of malnourished and identifying who will be given priority interventions in the community. Comparing results of OPT Plus against previous years help provide verifiable data for evaluating effectiveness of nutrition and nutrition-related interventions.

Annually, the National Nutrition Council processes OPT Plus results and generates a list of nutritionally depressed cities/municipalities which are disseminated to government and non- government organizations so that these areas are given priority attention in nutrition programming planning and intervention.


How are the data aggregated?

OPT data are aggregated by Province, City, Municipality and by sex


What is the WHO Child Growth Standard and why should we shift to its use?

The WHO Child Growth Standard provides a "single international standard that represents the best description of physiological growth for all children from birth to five years of age".

The WHO convened a group of experts to conduct a multi-center growth reference study (MGRS) to develop a new international growth standard for infants and young children. The study identified the breastfed child as the normative model for growth and development. The study included children from a diverse set of countries to consider ethnic, genetic and cultural variations on how children were nurtured.


What are the key features of the new WHO-CGS?

1. It shows how every child in the world should grow. It sets the benchmark for growth and development of all children from birth to age 5, as opposed to describing growth of just a sample of children at a particular time and place.

2. It shows that every child in any part of the world regardless of ethnicity has the potential to grow and develop as described in this standard as long as the child's basic needs are met.

3. It can help detect undernutrition, overweight, obesity at an early stage in a child's life.

4. The standard is based on the breastfed infant as the normative growth model, consistent with national and international guidelines that recognize breastfeeding as the best source of nutrition for infants.

5. The standard serves as a powerful tool in informing parents, doctors and policymakers on what constitutes good nutrition, health and development.


What is the basis for its adoption?

The NNC Governing Board issued Resolution No. 2 S.2008 adopting the new WHO-CGS for use for children 0-5 years old in the Philippines.

What are the implications of adopting the new WHO-CGS?

A change in the magnitude of under- and overnutrition

is expected. Prevalence of overweight, stunting and wasting/thinness will increase while underweight will decrease.

Previous years' nutrition data should be converted to allow comparison with new data using the WHO CGS.


Where can I access data on the country's nutrition situation?

Data is available at:

Or can be requested by writing to:

Assistant Secretary and Executive Director
National Nutrition Council
2332 Chino Roces Avenue Extension
Taguig City
Tel. No: (63 2) 892-4721
Fax No: (63 2) 843-5818

Results of the National Nutrition Survey is available at