NEGROS Oriental registered the highest malnutrition prevalence rate among the provinces in Central Visayas for 2009.

Records from the regional office of the Department of Health showed that Negros Oriental holds the top spot in malnutrition prevalence rate in the region with 11.31 percent followed by Cebu with 9.46 percent, Bohol with 8.12 percent, and Siquijor with 7.99 percent.

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The first four cities with the highest malnutrition rates in the region are also in Negros Oriental with Canlaon City posting 11.34 percent, followed by Bayawan City with 10.62 percent, Bais City with 10.2 percent, and Tanjay City with 6.42 percent.

Cebu City followed with 5.68 percent while the city with the lowest prevalence rate is Lapu-Lapu City with 1.45 percent.

Although the province's prevalence rate is the highest in the region last year, records also showed that the malnutrition rate here have been dropping regularly since 2007, said Dr. Parolita Mission, regional nutrition program coordinator of DOH-7, during the Kapihan PIA forum held at the Sidlakang Negros Village Wednesday morning.

In 2007, the province's malnutrition rate was pegged at 11.88 percent. It dropped to 11.57 percent in 2008 and went down again to 11.31 percent last year.

"Even if the malnutrition rate in Negros Oriental is high, we're happy that it has maintained a downward trend in the past three years. Even if the decrease has been slight, it's still a decrease," Mission said.

The low rates of the towns here also made it to last year's top 10 nutritionally depressed municipalities in the region.

Vallehermoso ranked no. 1 with a 25.1 percent malnutrition prevalence rate, followed by Mabinay at rank no. 3 with 17.6 percent. Guihulngan ranked no. 6 with 17 percent followed by Tayasan with 16.6 percent.

Bohol province's Buena Vista ranked the lowest with 15.5 percent.

The ranking's figures are based from the results of the Operation Timbang (weight monitoring) conducted among infants from zero to 71 months old (5 years old) in the barangays. (Victor L. Camion)