BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera office of the National Nutrition Council (NNC-CAR) disclosed that the prevalence of underweight among under 5 children in the region decreased last year compared to the reported prevalence the previous year.
However, NNC-CAR officer-in-charge Bella Basalong reported that true prevalence of overweight and obesity among under 5 children in the region is continuously increasing.
Based on the 2021 Nutrition Situation of Under 5 Children in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) that was culled from the Operation Timbang Plus results from local governments, Abra had the highest prevalence of undernutrition among under 5 children compared to other provinces.
On the other hand, the prevalence of stunting and wasting among under 5 children in the region continues to increase over the past 3 years, particularly from 2018 to 2021.
Basalong pointed out that the nutrition status indicators include weight-for-age where the same could be classified under normal, underweight, severely underweight and overweight; height-for-age where they could be considered as normal, stunted, severely stunted and tall and weight-for-height where kids could be considered as wasted, severely wasted, overweight and obese.
On the prevalence of wasting in the region, Abra recorded the highest wasting incidents among under 5 children with 4.28 followed by Apayao with 2.95, Kalinga – 2.64, Mountain Province – 1.22, Benguet – 0.73, Ifugao – 0.62 and Baguio City – 0.21.
On the prevalence of underweight among under 5 children, Abra recorded the highest at 9.37 followed by Apayao with 5.85, Kalinga – 4.29, Mountain Province – 3.93, Benguet – 1.83, Ifugao – 1.31 and Baguio City – 0.88.
On the prevalence of stunting in the region, Abra registered the highest rate at 16.95, followed by Mountain Province with 15.72, Apayao – 13.28, Kalinga – 12.60, Benguet – 7.13, Ifugao – 5.09 and Baguio City – 1.59.
Further, on the prevalence of stunting among age groups, those that fall under the 0-5 months recorded a rate of 3.8 followed by those in the 6-11 months with 5.1, 12-23 months – 9.3, 24 to 35 months – 10.2, 36 too 47 months – 103 and 48 to 59 months – 9.3.
Basalong identified the top ten municipalities in the region with high prevalence of stunting are Boliney, Abra; :acub, Abra; Paracelis, Mountain Province; Tineg, Abra; Licuan-Baay, Abra; Malibcong, Abra; Sadanga, Mountain Province; Flora, Apayao; Lagayan, Abra; Villaviciosa, Abra and Besao, Mountain province.
On the prevalence of overweight and obesity among under 5 children, Abra remained the highest with 4.81 followed by Kalinga with 4.20, Apayao – 4.15, Mountain Province – 3.0, Benguet – 2.38, Ifugao – 2.07 and Baguio City – 0.56.
In terms of the percentage of malnourished children by sex, 54.02 percent of stunned children are boys while 45.98 percent are girls. 54.97 percent of wasted children are boys while 45.-3 percent are girls. 53.21 percent of underweight children are boys while 46.79 percent are girls. 58.24 percent of overweight and obese children are boys while 41.76 percent are girls.
To help in strengthening the implementation of the government’s nutrition programs in the grassroots level, the NNC-CAR recommended that local governments must hire a sufficient number of nutrition staff item in the provinces, cities and municipalities as indicated in the devolution nutrition plan.
The annual conduct of the Operation Timbang Plus is a mandatory activity of the various local governments in close coordination with the NNC-AR where the results are collated which form part of the Nutrition Status being released by the concerned agency to ascertain the nutrition status of children.
Earlier, the Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR) passed Resolution No. 51, series of 2021 which encouraged local government units in the region to strengthen LGU nutrition programs with the increase in LGU Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) shares from the implementation of the Supreme Court (SC) ruling on the Mandanas-Garcia petitions by creating nutrition offices and hiring of permanent nutrition action officers with adequate support staff to coordinate and oversee nutrition program implementation in the LGUs.