The prevalence of malnutrition among children less than five years old in Ilocos Norte has significantly improved over the past four years through the inter-agency kitchen garden and continuing supplementary feeding programs.
Based on the latest report, Provincial Nutrition Action Office (PNAO) head Elma Irapta said the provincial and municipal governments and the Department of Education distributed vegetable seeds to 900 households in 2023 to encourage people to have garden in their homes.
“Having fresh vegetables at home along with our continuing nutrition education or the so-called Pinggang Pinoy have shown positive results,” she said.
Pinggang Pinoy is a food guide on the recommended proportion by food groups in every meal, intended specifically for Filipinos.
Provincial data on nutrition situation released on Monday showed that prevalence of stunting has declined to 4.7 percent in 2022 from 6.7 percent in 2021, 8.4 percent in 2020 and 8.9 percent in 2019.
Stunting happens when poor nutrition, repeated infection and inadequate psychosocial stimulation result in children’s impaired growth and development.
“I am thankful to our provincial, city, and municipal nutrition council offices as well as our barangay (village) nutrition scholars, government officials, and parents for this great progress in addressing child malnutrition in the province,” Governor Matthew Joseph Manotoc said in a statement.
To sustain this outcome, the PNAO said it will continue with the feeding programs not only for children but also for pregnant women.
The provincial government will also intensify the conduct of salt testing and monitoring activities in sample households, markets, neighborhood stores and groceries to secure the nutritional well-being of consumers, particularly among children, pregnant, and lactating women.
According to nutrition experts, the effectiveness of the salt iodization program lies in the iodine mixed with the salt since that is the simplest, cheapest and most effective ingredient being used and consumed by people on a daily basis. (Leilanie Adriano)
(Source: Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte)