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On its continuous pursuit to address hunger and malnutrition in Central Luzon, the National Nutrition Council Region III (NNC-Region III) held the first of its webinar series which focuses on the WHY – reasons WHY there is a need to focus on addressing the malnutrition problem in Central Luzon – last 3 May 2021.

With the objective of providing the nutrition community and stakeholders in Central Luzon with the current information on the nutrition situation in the region while simultaneously intensifying and mobilizing integrated actions of regional line agencies, nongovernment agencies, local government units (LGUs), and communities to implement suitable assortment of programs under the Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition (PPAN), 2017-2022.

With topics ranging from updates on the food security in the country and in the region up to analysis of childhood overweight and obesity, the 4-hour webinar was able to disseminate updates and provide reasons on why there is a need and focus on addressing hunger and malnutrition in the region. More than a hundred individuals coming from different LGUs of Central Luzon, members of the regional line agencies, stakeholders, nutrition federated groups, media partners, and various nutrition workers from the grassroots-levels up to the national level attended the webinar.

The webinar started with an opening remarks delivered by the chairperson of the Central Luzon’s Regional Nutrition Committee (RNC), Dr. Corazon I. Flores where she warmly welcomed the presence of all the participants and speakers and expressed her utmost support to the vision and mandate of NNC-Region III. RD Flores urged everyone to cooperate and to unite RNC member-agencies to implement programs that are aligned with the PPAN, 2017-2022.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei B. Nograles, Chair of the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) on Zero Hunger and Enhanced Partnership against Hunger and Poverty (EPAHP) was Keynote Speaker of the Webinar. He advocated for the implementation of National Food Policy and programs identified under the IATF on Zero Hunger and EPAHP which are all aimed at addressing hunger and malnutrition in the country. He also highlighted the need for the government agencies, stakeholders, non-government organizations (NGOs), and the private sector to continue working together to holistically solve the multi-faceted nature of malnutrition.

PMNP Banner 2On 13 April 2021, the National Nutrition Council-Region III conducted an online consultation session with target stakeholders of the Philippine Multisectoral Nutrition Program (PMNP). Participants of the online Focus Group Discussion were Barangay Nutrition Scholars (BNSs), Barangay Health Workers (BHWs), Day Care Workers (DCWs), Nutrition Action Officers (NAOs) and District/City Nutrition Program Coordinators (DCNPCs).

The online activity aims to orient the target participants on the PMNP, locally translated as KUMAIN (Kasapatan at Ugnayan ng Mamamayan sa Akmang Pagkain at Nutrisyon) Project; and 2) gather inputs and suggestions from the BNSs, BHWs, DCWs, CMNAOs and DCNPCs from the Municipalities of Cuyapo and Rizal and San Jose City of Nueva Ecija Province to assess the health and nutrition situation of the communities under the proposed target areas.

The consultation session through the conduct of a Focus Group Discussion (FGD) was divided into four (4) parts. The first part of the FGD discussed the health and nutrition concerns or problems which are most common in the communities. The second part focused on gender issues in relation to health and nutrition concerns experienced in the communities. The third part discussed the appropriate nutrition-sensitive programs to address the health and nutrition concerns in the community. And the last part solicited the participants’ recommendations for the PMNP.

Article April
One may be wondering why nutrition in adolescence is included in the series of Nutrition-School-on-the-Air: First 1000 Days. But before any prejudice, let us first look back at a basic biology lesson: the human life cycle. In the human life cycle, adolescence (13-19 years old) is the period of transition between childhood, specifically the primary school stage (5-12 years old) and adulthood (36-55 years old). Big changes happen during this stage such as cognitive, social, emotional, sexual, and most especially, physical changes in a person. The adolescence stage in one life’s cycle is a very important window of opportunity wherein one’s poor nutritional practices and behaviors can be corrected and their nutritional status can also be improved. This is also the stage where any nutritional deficiency that the person acquires or experience can have a significant or major impact on their health or the health of their future children which is why it is considered as a critical period. Optimum nutrition in the body is needed in ensuring full growth potential is achieved.

According to the 2015 National Nutrition Survey (NNS) conducted by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST), 25% of adolescents in the country are stunted while 14.4% of them are wasted. An alarming 10.8% of adolescents were also recorded to be overweight or obese which is higher than the national prevalence rate of 8.3%. This can only mean that a significant number of adolescents in the country are not getting the optimum nutrition they need to reach their full growth potential, which also puts them in a vulnerable position from diseases and infection.

Nutrition in the adolescent stage should be given a focus on, especially for females as this is the time to prepare the body for the nutritional demands that will happen during pregnancy and lactation in later life. In making sure that the adolescent female is getting the optimum nutrition, there is a bigger possibility that during her pregnancy later in her adult life, complications during pregnancy can be avoided, including fetal/infant complications. Poor nutritional choices made during the adolescent stage can greatly impact one’s adult life which then can affect one’s pregnancy.

5On 3 May 2021, the National Nutrition Council – Region III, in partnership with the members of the Central Luzon Regional Nutrition Committee, will hold the first of a series of webinars this year entitled “Addressing Hunger and Malnutrition in Central Luzon . . . Let us Start with Why?”

The webinar aims to provide the nutrition community and stakeholders in Central Luzon with current information on the nutrition situation in the region. It also aims to intensify and mobilize integrated action of regional line agencies, nongovernment agencies, local government units, academic institutions, business corporations and communities to implement appropriate mix of programs under the Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition, 2017-2022.

Invited participants are members of the Central Luzon Regional Nutrition Committee (CL RNC) composed of the regional directors and head of 26 regional government line agencies and three (3) nutrition federated groups and media partners; members of the Regional Nutrition Technical Working Group; Provincial, City and Municipal Nutrition Action Officers, District and City Nutrition Program Coordinators and Barangay Nutrition Scholars from the seven (7) provinces and 14 cities of Central Luzon. Members of the Central Luzon Advocates and Regional Nutrition Information Network (CLARINET) composed of practitioners from radio, TV and information officers from various government offices and non-government organizations.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei B. Nograles, Chair of the Inter-agency Task Force on Zero Hunger and Enhanced Partnership against Hunger and Poverty and a staunch nutrition advocate and supporter will Keynote the event. Four (4) invited speakers will deliver very timely topics which aims to propel actions and engagement of various sectors and stakeholders in the region.

Topics lined up for discussion are: The State of Philippine Food and Nutrition Security Before and During Pandemic to be presented by Ms. Cristine G. Malabad, Senior Science Research Specialist of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology; 2. Survey on Nutrition Service Disruption and Adaptation in the Health System to be shared by Dr. Cecilia Acuin, Consultant from the UNICEF Philippines; 3. Landscape Analysis of Childhood Overweight and Obesity in the Philippines: Implications for Policies and Programs by Dr. Mary Christine Castro, Executive Director of the Nutrition Center of the Philippines; and 4. The Philippine Multisectoral Nutrition Project by Dir. Azucena M. Dayanghirang, Executive Director of the National Nutrition Council.

Webinar Series 1, with an appendage “Let us Start with Why”, aims to stir up actions on why we need to address hunger and malnutrition. The upcoming webinars in the coming months will cover topics on nutrition programs or interventions, good practices of individuals and LGUs along with the monitoring and evaluation for sustainability – which will answer the questions WHO, WHAT and HOW.

The webinar also aims to drum up focus of the 2021 Nutrition Month theme “Malnutrition patuloy na labanan, First 1,000 Days tutukan!” that calls for continued efforts to address malnutrition in the country which is expected to worsen as a result of the pandemic and limited resources for nutrition. The theme calls for all sectors to focus efforts on the First 1000 Days of life as the strategic intervention to prevent stunting and obesity. 

The webinar is first part of the two half-day sessions of the Central Luzon Regional Nutrition Committee meeting which will be held on 3 May (Webinar) at 9:00 AM to 12:00 NN and 4 May (Meeting Proper) at 9:00 AM to 12:00 NN.

Part 2 of the CL RNC meeting (May 4) would be the presentation of NNC’s initiatives such as the series of Workshops in Integrating Nutrition in the Annual Investment Programs (AIP) of the LGUs for CY 2021-2022 and presentation of CL RNC resolutions for approval such as addressing overweight and obesity in the region, encouraging LCEs to designate full time NAOs, encouraging LGUs to participate in the AIP workshops and encouraging LGUs to participate in the Monitoring and Evaluation of Local Level Plan Implementation (MELLPI) this year.

Please join the webinar and learn the WHYs of the need to address hunger and malnutrition not just in Central Luzon but in the entire country. For more information, please visit our website https://www.nnc.gov.ph/regional-offices/luzon/region-iii-central-luzon.

The webinar can also be viewed live on facebook at https://facebook.com/NNCRegion3. – Ana Maria Barroga Rosaldo

NSOA ArticleNutritional needs of women during lactation increased in response to breast milk production. Thus, “Nutrition during Lactation” was the main focus of the 9th episode of the NNC-DOH Nutrition School on the Air (NSOA) First 1,000 (F1K) Days radio magazine program on 23 February 2021.

NSOA F1K radio program co-anchor Ms. Rose Anne M. Cuyco, Nutrition Officer II of NNC-Region III, and special guest Ms. Margarita Santos-Natividad, Nutritionist-Dietitian IV of DOH Central Luzon Center for Health Development discussed the importance of nutrition during lactation to ensure that lactating mothers will keep themselves healthy and well-nourished as well as continue to provide nourishment and care to their young children through breastfeeding.

NO II Cuyco emphasized that during the first six months after delivery, the baby is fed only on breast milk, and that the baby depends on the mother’s nutrient requirements. Thus, lactating mothers are advised to eat a healthy and balanced diet during this period.

Ms. Natividad added that nutritional demands during lactation are high and can have a negative impact on both mother and baby if they are not met. The daily diet of a lactating mother will be adequate provided that food selection and preparation is appropriate.

Additional 500 calories per day is required for a lactating mother. The additional calories can be met by eating, for example, extra three (3) slices of fish per day or one cup of milk and peanut butter sandwich. Simply eating more of the usual balanced diet will enable lactating mother to meet higher energy demand while breastfeeding.

The additional protein requirements during lactation can be met by consuming protein rich foods such as one piece of egg or 25 grams of cheese or 175 grams of milk. Calcium is essential during lactation because it is required for milk production. An intake 500 ml of milk or milk products per day must be taken in addition to eating calcium rich foods, such as green leafy vegetables like malunggay and fish.

The additional food to be eaten during lactation is needed to replenish the energy that is lost through breastfeeding. Lactating mother should eat regularly to increase food intake and meet all nutritional needs by eating a variety of foods from the three food groups – the go, grow and glow foods.

AGDG
For the third installment of the 10-episode series “Nutrition-School-on-the-Air : First 1000 Days,” we dived back into the topic of Establishment of Lactation Stations in the Workplace. If for the previous week, the main focus was on the establishment of lactation stations in the workplace for private institutions/companies setting where Ms. Diane Corynne Ramos of the Department of Labor and Employment-Regional Office III was invited as speaker, the NSOA F1K Episode on 26 January 2021 was dedicated for the local government units and the NNC-Region III invited not just one, but two guests for this episode: Ms. Margarita S. Natividad, Nutritionist-Dietitian IV of the Department of Health Central Luzon Center for Health Development (DOHCL-CHD), and Ms. Jorohnny Gladys Lingat, City Nutrition Action Officer (CNAO) of the City Nutrition Office of the City of Mabalacat.

Ms. Natividad explained the process and requirements needed for the application and certification of the lactation centers in the LGUs while CNAO Lingat of Mabalacat City who was present via phone patch, was interviewed to impart and share her experience as CNAO of the first ever LGU in Central Luzon to have a DOH-certified lactation center in their City Hall.

Ms. Natividad briefly introduced and explained the Republic Act (RA) 10028 or the Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act and further expounded on the importance of the establishment of lactation centers in the workplaces.  Ms. Natividad mentioned that the DOH CL CHD is the agency responsible for the dissemination of RA 1008, set guidelines and procedures on how to implement the policy and other important features based on the World Health Organization standards. Ms. Natividad emphasized that LGUs cannot just establish a lactation station in their offices but should follow certain procedures such that the DOH CL CHD initially conducts assessment to make sure that all standards and requirements are followed before a certification is granted to the LGU’s lactation center.

Ms. Natividad also encouraged the listeners to pass an ordinance in support of the law. She mentioned that despite having the national law in place, a local ordinance will also be of great help in the implementation of the said law at the grassroots level of the government.

CNAO Lingat shared that one of her main goals when she was appointed as the CNAO of the City of Mabalacat was to provide an appropriate space not just for breastfeeding mothers working in their LGU but also for visiting clients and constituents. She narrated that she herself was once a breastfeeding mom who had to breastfeed while she was working which is why she continuously pushed for the establishment of a lactation station in Mabalacat City Hall.

CNAO Lingat also shared that the establishment of a lactation station was made possible with the support of Mayor Crisostomo Garbo and the other core members of the local nutrition committee. She also acknowledged the support provided by the DOH CL CHD and the NNC Region III during the process of setting up the lactation center.