BAGUIO CITY – Regional nutrition advocates underscored the proper nourishment of both mother and child on the first 1,000 days of life of babies in order to maximize the potentials of growth and better quality of life for the child during maturity.
The first 1,000 days of life of babies is the period between a mother’s pregnancy and the child’s second birthday and which is the period of rapid growth where nutrient deficiencies can have long-term consequences.
Rita Papey, Regional Nutrition Program Coordinator of the Cordillera office of the National Nutrition Council (NNC-CAR), pointed out that good nutrition for both the mother and child during the first 1,000 days of life can help maximize the child’s ability to grow, learn and develop, that has profound effect in his or her future health, well-being and success later on in adulthood.
NNC, its partner agencies and local governments are currently celebrating the 42nd Nutrition Month with the theme “First 1,000 Days ni Baby Pahalagahan Para sa Malusog na Kinabukasan.”
Dominga L. Dawe, nutritionist and dietician of the Under 5 Clinic of the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC), emphasized the first 1,000 days of life of babies is globally recognized as the ‘golden window’ of opportunity for nutrition and related interventions that will have a positive impact on the child’s physical and mental development considering that good nutrition for both the mother and child is an important driver for a child’s maximum growth and development potentials that will have lasting effects in his or her life course.
“Proper nutrition at the right time and with the right amount will give the child the maximum potentials of growth and development, thus, the need for mothers to make sure that they have good nutrition right from conception up to a child’s second birthday and beyond,” Dr. Pelin Belino, Dean of the Department of Human Nutrition and Food of the Benguet State University (BSU), stressed.
It was learned that the first 1,000 days of life includes the 270 days of pregnancy and the 730 days of the baby in this world. During pregnancy, the baby is solely dependent on the mother for nourishment for his proper growth and development.
Dawe explained the consequences of poor nutrition during pregnancy which include underweight mothers, and those who have short stature at risk of maternal death and are likely to give birth to low-birth weight infants. Further, she stressed that iron deficiency or anemia increases risk of death due to excessive blood loss at delivery and increased postpartum hemorrhage; folate deficiency causes neural tube defects in infants such as anencephaly or absence of brain and spinal bifida or opening in the spine, iodine deficiency can cause still birth or if the child is born alive, chances are the child has physical deformities and mental retardation; and overweight and obesity pose risk to pregnant women of maternal complications such as gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia and premature delivery.
By Dexter A. See