Malnutrition in Davao, Philippines

The National Nutrition Council (NNC) here revealed that malnutrition rate in Davao Region posted 6.2 percent malnutrition prevalence rate last year, setting in the middle of the 14 other regions.

NNC regional coordinator Teresa Ungson specifically referred to the local government units (LGUs) of Regions 1-Ilocos, Region 2-Cagayan Valley and Region 3-Central Luzon as top three in having low malnutrition rate among the 14 regions in the country as of last year.

“Regions 1, 2, and 3 are top on nutrition because of the support of the LGUs on investing on nutrition programs and top priority in their annual development plan,” she said.

Ungson said Davao City slightly grew from 4.3 percent in 2010 to 5.2 percent in 2011. Digos City, Davao del Sur obtained the highest average rate of a little over 10 percent, and the municipality of Nabunturan in Compostela Valley as lowest at 2.4 percent.

She however said although the prevalence rate increased the rate of pre-school kids who are overweight increased.

She identified the increasing population in Davao City aside from urbanization and numerous numbers of indigenous people in far-flung barangays to have contributed to its malnutrition prevalence rate.

Ungson even clarified that Davao City does not lack in government support in relation to nutrition programs as well as its corresponding budgetary allocations.

“There is government support, the mayor’s office has funds for nutrition programs, the implementation of these programs are good, but aside from population and big groups of IPs, the problem lies in the difficulty in delivering service or the programs to hard-to-reach barangays where the IPs usually settle,” Ungson said.

She said to lower the prevalence rate, it would be good to re-identify the areas where there are a number of informal settlers, and IPs, and concentrate on these areas the implementation of nutrition programs.

Ungson also said looking carefully at the data collection in terms of its accuracy also helps in determining the prevalence rate accurately.

She cited Davao Oriental that double checked its data and determined that an error was made in the gathering of data, in which the prevalence rate is miscalculated to be higher than the exact rate.

The province of Davao Oriental attained the highest reduction of malnutrition among preschool children, pushing down the prevalence rate to 5.48 percent in 2011 from 6.32 percent in 2010, she said.

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