Malnutrition Among Poor Filipino Children

As part of its efforts to reduce hunger incidence in the country, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) recently inked a supplemental feeding agreement with HAPAG-ASA Integrated Nutrition Program, a non-governmental organization.

DSWD Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman said the agreement aims to alleviate malnutrition among poor Filipino children three to five years old.

The memorandum of agreement was signed by Soliman and HAPAG-ASA program manager Florinda Lacanlalay at the DSWD central office in Batasan Hills, Quezon City.

She stressed that this partnership with HAPAG-ASA will boost the DSWD’s supplemental feeding program by reaching out to more day care children with nutrition-related problems outside the target of the DSWD, who are in all day care centers nationwide.

HAPAG-ASA will feed children three to 12 years old within its areas of coverage.

Initially, the supplemental feeding program under the DSWD and HAPAG-ASA tie-up will be implemented in six dioceses and four non-governmental organizations in the National Capital Region (NCR).

The children will be fed once a day, five days a week for 60 days starting this October.

Vitameal-enriched meals which come in the form of viand and rice or snacks will be served during break times.

Soliman said the children will be weighed at the start of the feeding and a monthly weighing thereafter will be done to determine improvement in their nutritional status.

Aside from the supplemental feeding component, the program has also education classes for parents with topics on spiritual/values formation, health and nutrition, natural family planning methods, parent effectiveness, home care sessions, and livelihood/skills training.

These classes will provide parents with basic knowledge and skills that will improve their parenting capabilities and expand their opportunities.

Based on the results of the Seventh National Nutrition Survey (NNS) conducted by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) in 2008, the malnutrition prevalence among Filipino children has remained alarmingly high in the last 10 years.

The survey showed that three out of 10 children 0 to 10 years old are underweight (26.2 percent for children 0-5 years old and 25.6 percent for 6–10 years old).

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