PRE-SCHOOL children in the Cordillera Administrative Region are among the most obese in the country.
In a data by Benguet State University, 6.1 out of the 100 children are overweight and obese, second to the National Capital Region.
Similarly, 7.8 of school children and 11.6 of adolescents out of 100 are obese and overweight while adults in Cordillera are the third highest in prevalence of overweight and obesity in the Philippines with 34.5 out of 100 as discussed by Dr. Pelin Belino, Dean of the Department of Human Nutrition and Foods of BSU.
Dr. Belino said the main reason why people are overweight or obese is most Cordillerans have higher food intake than what the body needs unless there are other metabolic problems.
National Nutrition Council (NNC) – CAR Regional Nutrition Program Coordinator Rita Papey added the reason calorie intake is higher than the output is because diet has changed due to the kind of food that is available right now.
“People nowadays consume more instant and processed foods which are calorie-dense,” added Papey. According to Dr. Belino, national data show that the prevalence of overweight and obesity is high on urban areas and rich population during the launching of the 2016 nutrition month themed “First 1000 days ni baby pahalagahan para sa malusog na kinabukasan.”
Dr. Helen Colewan of the City Health Services Office added the inconsistency of physical activities of laborers in Cordillera, miners for example, is the reason why there is still a high prevalence of overweight and obesity regardless of CAR’s rich labor force.
“Overnutrition and undernutrition are both considered as malnutrition problems,” said Dr. Belino.
Papey on the other hand said aside from watching obesity and the overweight problem in the region, there is also a need to address gaps in breastfeeding especially during the first 1000 days of a baby’s life. “Gatas lang ng mother dapat.
Kahit tubig wala because the mother’s milk already contains the nutrients including the water requirements,” Papey added.
Papey also recommends the continuation of breastfeeding until two-years-old or further with the appropriate complementary feeding of the child which is another gap identified.
“Pinapakain nga natin ang mga bata, but mothers are unaware na kulang pala. Hindi lang yung frequency, but the diversity of food ang kulang. Dapat iba-ibang klase yan. May prutas, gulay, proteins… dapat varied and balanced food,” Papey added. Appropriate complementary feeding is a major weakness in the feeding process in CAR.
Another gap is the malnutrition of mothers. Papey cited that 18% of mothers in CAR are still at risk of malnutrition especially during pregnancy. She emphasized that mothers should be in their optimum health condition before and during pregnancy especially when they are breastfeeding. (Lovely Erese and Patricia Luisa Dealca/UP Baguio Interns)