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LCPC GUMAGALAW NA CARAVANThe National Nutrition Council Region III, an active member of the Regional Sub-Committee for the Welfare of Children (RSCWC) Central Luzon joined the LCPCng Gumagalaw Online Caravan for the Provinces of Nueva Ecija and Pampanga on 24 November 2020 via zoom teleconference where the agency shared the nutrition situation of children in Central Luzon. Other members of the RSCWC such as the Department of Health, Philippine National Police, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Education also shared the situation of children in Central Luzon of their respective sector.

The online caravan was part of the month-long celebration of the 28th National Children’s Month celebration for the year of 2020, with the theme “Sama-samang Itaguyod ang Karapatan ng mga Bata sa Panahon ng Pandemya”.  In ensuring the functionality of the Local Councils for the Protection of Children (LCPC), the caravan aimed to identify issues and concerns on children’s welfare and rights during COVID-19 pandemic, and to strengthen collaboration between and among LCPC key actors and RSCWC Members.

NNC-Region III presented the nutrition situation of children in the provinces of Nueva Ecija and Pampanga based on the results of the 2019 Expanded National Nutrition Survey (ENNS) of the Department of Science and Technology- Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI-DOST).

Nutrition Officer I Antonette Gail Garcia and Nutrition Officer III Angelita Pasos presented the nutrition situation of the Provinces of Nueva Ecija and Pampanga, respectively. Highlights of the survey as are follows:

NUEVA ECIJA

PAMPANGA

Food Security

  • Six out of 10 (56.4%) households in Nueva Ecija experienced acute food insecurity.
  • Food insecurity was evident in households with poor wealth status.
  • Three out of 10 (34.6%) households in Nueva Ecija experienced chronic food insecurity.
  • Five out of 10 (51.5%) households in Pampanga experienced acute food insecurity.
  • Food insecurity was evident in households with poor wealth status.
  • Three out of 10 (31.9%) households in Pampanga experienced chronic food insecurity.

 

 

Children Under-Five (0-59 months old)/Infant and Young Children

  • Prevalence of underweight (17.3%) and stunting (18.8%) among under-five children were “medium” and “low” public health problems in the province.
  • Wasting/thinness (10.0%) was assessed as serious based on the WHO cut-offs. It was significantly higher compared to the national estimate (5.8%).
  • Underweight, stunting and wasting prevalence were significantly higher among poor than non-poor households.
  • Overweight prevalence was at 3.5%, this should not be taken for granted as they will be at-risk to NCDs later in life if not prevented.
  • Anemia prevalence among children 6 months to 5 years old was at 19.0%, and considered as a “mild” public health problem.
  • Five out of ten (53.7%) infants were initiated to breastfeeding within one hour after birth.
  • Four out of ten (42.4%) infants were exclusively breastfed during the first 6 months of life.
  • A low proportion of young children 6-23 months old met the minimum dietary diversity (19.0%) and acceptable diet (6.4%).
  • Prevalence of underweight (17.4%) and stunting (21.2%) among under-five children were both medium public health problems in the province.
  • Underweight and stunting prevalence were significantly higher among poor than non-poor households.
  • Wasting/thinness (5.0%) was assessed as poor based on the WHO cut-offs.
  • Overweight prevalence was at 6.7%, and it is significantly higher in the province compared to the national estimate, this should not be taken for granted as they will be at-risk to NCDs later in life if not prevented. Furthermore, it was significantly higher among non-poor than poor households.
  • Anemia prevalence among children 6 months to 5 years old was at 8.0%, and considered as a “mild” public health problem.
  • Five out of ten (53.8%) infants were initiated to breastfeeding within one hour after birth.
  • Four out of ten (44.2%) infants were exclusively breastfed during the first 6 months of life.
  • A low proportion of young children 6-23 months old met the minimum dietary diversity (18.6%) and acceptable diet (7.8%)

 

 

 

School-Age Children (5 to 10 years old)

  • Prevalence of underweight (18.4%) and stunting (14.1%) in Nueva Ecija were significantly lower than national estimates (26.0% for underweight and 25.2% for stunting).
  • Two out of 10 (18.4%) school-age children in Nueva Ecija were underweight while one of ten was stunted (14.1%) 
  • Nine out of 100 school-age children were wasted (9.0%).
  • There were more underweight, stunted and wasted school-age children among males and in poor households. 
  • One out of 10 (14.2%) school-age children was overweight/obese; mostly in non-poor households. 
  • Anemia prevalence (12.6%) was higher than the national estimate (10.7%) and considered a “mild” public health problem.
  • Prevalence of underweight (18.8%) and stunting (15.2%) in Pampanga were significantly lower than national estimates.
  • Every 2 out of 10 school-age children in Pampanga were underweight (18.8%) and  stunted (15.2%) while 9 out of 100 were wasted (9.2%)
  • There were more underweight and wasted school-age children among males and in poor households.
  • Stunted school-age children were mostly among females and in poor households
  • Two out of 10 (17.3%) school-age children were overweight/obese; mostly in non-poor households.
  • Anemia prevalence (14.1%) was higher than the national estimate and considered a “mild” public health problem.

 

Adolescents (10 to 19 years old)

  • Prevalence of stunting (15.5%) was significantly lower than the national estimate (26.8%)
  • Two out of 10 (15.5%) adolescents in Nueva Ecija were stunted while 1 out of 10 (13.8%) was wasted .
  • There were more stunted and wasted adolescents among males and in poor households.
  • One out of 10 (12.6%) adolescents was overweight/obese; mostly among males (13.5%) and in non-poor households (15.9%)
  •  Anemia prevalence in Nueva Ecija (5.0%) was lower than the national estimate (5.8%) and considered “low” in magnitude and severity. 
  • Female adolescents (7.6%) had higher prevalence of anemia than males (2.3%). 
  • Proportion of current  smokers (5.2%) in Nueva Ecija was significantly higher than the national estimate (3.4%); mostly males (9.6%) and in poor households (6.9%)
  • Proportion of current  drinkers (16.5%) in Nueva Ecija was higher than the national estimate (13.2%); most common among males (21.5%) and in non-poor households (17.6%)
  • Five out of 10 (53.2%) currently drinking adolescents were engaged in binge drinking
  • Majority of the adolescents were insufficiently physically active (84.2%); mostly females (89.2%)
  • Two out of 10 adolescents in Pampanga (15.5%) were stunted while 1 out of 10 was wasted (12.4%).
  • Stunting was more prevalent among females while wasting was more common among males
  • There were more stunted and wasted adolescents in poor households
  • Two out of 10 (19.8%) adolescents were overweight/obese; mostly among males (21.2%) and in non-poor households (22.7%)
  • Anemia prevalence in Pampanga (3.4%) was higher than national estimate (5.8%) and considered “low” in magnitude and severity.
  • Female adolescents (4.5%) had higher prevalence of anemia than males (2.1%).
  •  Current smokers were mostly males (4.6%) and in poor households (3.0%)
  • Proportion of current  drinkers (18.6%) in the province was significantly higher than national estimate; most common among males (22.5%) and in non-poor households (20.4%)
  • Four out of 10 ( 38.9%) currently drinking adolescents were engaged in binge drinking
  • Majority of the adolescents were insufficiently physically active (80.0%); mostly females (83.8%)

 

 

 

 

 

NO I Garcia and NO III Pasos both shared some actions that need to be taken to address the nutrition situation among children in the two provinces, including:

  • Reconvene their respective Provincial Nutrition Committees and discuss results of the ENNS and address the multiple challenges of various age groups, review existing programs and to reactivate or revive or strengthen programs that were proven effective;
  • Integrate nutrition concerns in the plans of the Local Council on the Protection of Children;
  • Strengthen nutrition education using multi-media platform;
  • Strengthen optimal Infant and Young Child Feeding practices;
  • Maximize resources provided by the DOH and LGUs to augment when resources are limited, e.g. iron supplements;
  • Establish home and community food gardens as source of iron-rich foods for the households and source of diversified diet of young children, 6-23 months old;
  • Fund and implement dietary supplementation program for 6-23 months old to address child stunting during the first 1,000 days of life.

With this, actions that can be done at the regional level include:

  • NNC-Region III as secretariat to the Regional Nutrition Committee (RNC) to include in the agenda of the Central Luzon RNC result of the ENNS and discuss actions that need to be addressed by concern RNC-member agencies;
  • Use the ENNS results as basis of the Program Implementation Review or PIR;
  • Formulate RNC resolutions to address challenges pose by the results of the ENNS; and
  • Collaborate with the Regional Council for the Welfare of Children on issues concerning children’s rights to food and good nutrition.

Hence, NNC-Region III hopes to continue to work hand-in-hand with not only the RSCWC, but also with various agencies and stakeholders to  push for the improvement of the nutritional status not only in the Provinces of Nueva Ecija and Pampanga, but the whole of Central Luzon.