Obesity plagues Cordillera

BAGUIO. More than 400 people from various health agencies and advocates simultaneously dance zumba during the launching of the nutrition month at the Baguio Athletic Bowl on July 3. This year’s nutrition month is themed “Kumaain ng Wasto at Maging Aktibo Push Natin to”. (Photo by Jean Nicole Cortes)

A STUDY by the Regional Nutrition Committee in cooperation with the Benguet State University (BSU) showed 56 percent of Cordillerans are found to be overweight bordering on obese.

The National Nutrition Council Cordillera Nutrition Program Coordinator Rita Papey said during the weekly “Kapihan sa Baguio” forum, based on the 2018 prevalence of malnutrition from “Operation Timbang Plus,” the Cordillera recorded 2.41 percent of overweight and obesity incidents.

“In the National Nutrition Survey, Cordillera usually registers high. For 2015, the data is 31% which is high nationwide with the prevalence of overweight or obesity among adults 20 years old and above in the Cordillera to be at 34.5% which is really much higher as compared to the national data,” Papey said.

Operation Timbang Plus data showed overweight and obesity incidents in the region to be at 2.41% with the City of Tabuk in Kalinga Province having the highest number at 6.18% followed by Apayao with 3.58% and Abra at 3.41%.

“I think this is one of the challenges here in CAR because all the more if other regions continue to pursue something about this, then we have to double our initiatives,” the nutrition coordinator said.

In underweight cases in the Cordillera, Abra recorded 7.75% cases followed by Tabuk City with 7.10% and Apayao with 6.80%.

An underweight person is a type whose body weight is considered too low to be healthy. Underweight people have a body mass index (BMI) of under 18.5 or a weight 15% to 20% below that normal for their age and height group.

For wasting cases, Tabuk City recorded 6.78% followed by Apayao with 17.51% and Kalinga with 15.92%.

Wasting, or low weight for height, is a strong predictor of mortality among children under five. It is usually the result of acute significant food shortage and/or disease.

For stunting cases, Tabuk City recorded 6.18% cases followed by Abra with 3.58%, and Apayao with 3.41%.

Stunting, or low height for age, is caused by long-term insufficient nutrient intake and frequent infections.

The total percentage for underweight cases in the region was at 3.41%, wasting recorded 2.10% while stunting had 10.55%.

“There is no exact study actually to tell what the reason is why but usually, what we see is the activeness of the local government units in implementing programs. If the heads of local government units together with their local nutrition committees are very active, then that’s where we will see a low prevalence of malnutrition cases and this is how I read this,” Papey added.


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