Number of underweight, stunted preschool kids drops

No. of underweight, stunted preschool kids drops
A total of 400 enthusiastic participants joined in Lapu-Lapu City's launching of the 50th Nutrition Month celebration at the Lapu-Lapu City Auditorium, July 1, 2024. Photo courtesy of Sage Derek Palacio

THE nutritional status of preschool children in Lapu-Lapu City has improved, based on the 2024 Operation Timbang (OPT) Plus Results.

Sage Derek Palacio, Lapu-Lapu City nutrition program coordinator, told SunStar Cebu on Wednesday, July 3, 2024, that the number of underweight children dropped from 679 in 2023 to 470 this year, and stunted children from 936 in 2023 to 858.

However, the number of wasted children went up from 147 in 2023 to 248 cases this year.

Wasting means low weight for height or severe weight loss to children, while stunting is defined as low height for age.

Palacio clarified that the figures are “not alarming” because the prevalence is considered significantly low based on the malnutrition indicators, and the City has been doing interventions to address the problem.

“For Lapu-Lapu City, the OPT Plus Results have decreased for underweight and stunting, but there is a slight increase on wasting but on its prevalence percentage of 0.5 it is just the same as last year,” said Palacio in Cebuano.

He cited poor hygiene and food nutrition as possible factors for children to experience severe weight loss, as these could lead to illness and malnutrition.

Mother Craft Class

In line with the launching of the 50th Nutrition Month last Monday, July 1, Palacio said the City Health Office is holding the “Mother Craft Class,” a nutrition-related program to help moms-to-be, mothers and pregnant women, especially teenagers.

For the entire month of July, it will conduct five sessions that will discuss malnutrition, family planning, responsible parenthood and meal and budgeting, among others.

According to Palacio, the sessions will be held in all the city’s 30 barangays with 15 to 35 participants, depending on the proposed budget of the barangay.

Budget allocation runs from P25,000 to P30,000.

Palacio said each barangay will also invite guest speakers to tackle other issues concerning sanitation, environmental and agriculture.

He pointed out that some barangays have already started dietary supplementation for malnourished children aged six to 59 months.

The launching of the 50th Nutrition Month in Lapu-Lapu was attended by over 400 residents, stakeholders, barangays officials and visitors from the Department of Health. / DPC

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