Approximately 30 percent of the total population of the country is short because of their stunted growth, says Dr.Maria Theresa Ungson, regional coordinator of the National Nutrition Council Region 11,during the weekly Kapehan sa Dabaw forum at SM Annex on Monday.
Ungson said that on the recent Operation Timbang 2017 states the prevalence rate of stunting in the region is at 9.3 percent whereas the prevalence rate of underweight is 3.85 percent.
“Stunting is a big problem,” Ungson said.
On the video uploaded by the National Nutrition Council Official Philippines on YouTube, it defines stunting as the lack of height for the child’s age. Stunting also affects the development of the child’s brain. Ungson said that stunting is caused by long term malnutrition.
Stunting starts in pregnancy, when the mother cannot be provided with the proper nutrition that adversely affect the infant. The effects of stunting are irreversible after two years of age.
In order to address the stunting issue in the region, the NNC will launch the first 1,000 day approach in Davao Occidental this year. On 2017, they launched the program in Davao del Sur.
“For stunting we are pilot testing a first 1000 days approach and these has been tested in other countries and it works,” she said.
Ungson said that this will be piloted in 12 provinces in the country. The centers will closely monitor pregnant women in these provinces until the baby reaches two years old.
“All services will be provided to all pregnant women and all the knowledge such as breastfeeding, and how to take care of her pregnancy,” she said.
She said this is important because it will set a good foundation on the growth of the baby. After two years old, if the baby was not nourished properly, the maximum growth potential will not be achieved.