SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/23 February) – Malnutrition rate in the city among children below seven years was higher in 2011 than in 2010, an official said.
Based on the survey on malnutrition prevalence, 690 or 11.29 percent of 17, 381 children below 7 years were found to be undernourished or underweight in 2011. In 2010, malnutrition prevalence was 11.22 percent or 707 children of 18,517 who underwent weighing.
Florence R. Dela Cruz, city nutritionist and dietician told Mindanews yesterday she was worried over the results, as she urged other stakeholders to do their effort to at least minimize, if not eradicate the problem.
Dela Cruz said that the increase in the rate of malnutrition could be attributed to the laxity in campaign and initiatives by the city’s 54 barangays.
The results of “operation timbang” (weigh) in 2010 showed that nine mainland barangays and one island barangay occupied the top 10 list.
These were barangays Sabang 19.24 %; Silop 20.13%, Canlanipa 20.27 %; Day-asan 20.35%; Togbongon 20.83%; Orok 22.45%; San Pedro 23.97% (Island); Mapawa 25.51%, Mabua 26.51% and Balibayon 30.46%.
In 2011, SanPedro and four other island barangays were among the areas with the highest rate. These were Canlanipa 19.73%; Capalayan 19.78%; Bitaugan (Is.) 20; Catadman (Is.) 20.34; Mabua 20. 36; Cagutsan (Is) 21.05; Balibayon 23; San Pedro (Is.) 27.35; Mapawa 27.59 and Libuac (Is.) 30.67.
She said the city nutrition office aims to reduce the malnutrition rate by at least three percent.
She added they could reduce the overall malnutrition rate to at least 10 percent by 2014 with the intense effort they have exerted so far this year.
“A well-nourished [populace] is part of the holistic development. If all our people are well-nourished and healthy, we’ll be productive. In the process, our economy will improve,” Dela Cruz said.
Malnutrition is a condition of the body resulting from lack or excess of one or more important nutrients. Poverty is often cited as the cause of this problem, though the National Nutrition Council (NCC) has insisted that one can have a well-balanced diet even if he or she is poor.
De la Cruz cited inadequate food intake, poor sanitation and unhealthy environment, and inadequate care for children and mothers as among the factors.
A child is considered malnourished if his or her weight is not ideal for his or her age. A five-year-old, for example, should have a weight of at least 14.1 kilos while a one-year-old should have a weight of eight kilos based on the standard used by the NNC.
Dela Cruz added that a malnourished child is also a slow learner. (Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)