TACLOBAN CITY - The Department of Health (DOH) wants to see increasing number of taller Filipino children in the next five years by stepping up intervention during the first 1,000 days of life.
About 33 percent of 14 million Filipino children are suffering growth failure when they reach five years old due to poor nutritional intervention, said DOH Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial during his visit to this city on Saturday.
“It takes time to address the problem of stunting. Our target is to bring down the percentage to less than 30 percent in five years,” Ubial said.
“Our call to all mothers is to breastfeed their child during the first six months and practice proper supplemental feeding from six months to two years.”
The first 1,000 days, according to the health chief, is very critical considering that achieving proper height can be done from conception until a child reaches two years old.
“We can’t improve the stunting after 1,000 days unlike underweight, which can be addressed through 120 days of feeding,” she added.
The critical period are 270 days from conception until birth, 180 days from birth to sixth month, and 550 days before the child’s second birthday.
Proper nourishment in the first 1,000 days of a child’s life is the emphasis of this year’s Nutrition Month, which aims to promote collaboration among various stakeholders for programs serving families with pregnant mothers and children less than two years old.
Early this month, the DOH-National Nutrition Council Early Childhood Care and Development Intervention Package for the First 1000 Days Program. The package includes services on nutrition, health, early learning and social services for pregnant women and children below two years old. (PNA)