Efforts to boost vitamin K, calcium to combat stunting

Efforts to boost vitamin K, calcium to combat stunting
Photo credit to NNC-Davao

THE Department of Science and Technology-Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI) is prioritizing the incorporation of increased vitamin K and calcium intake to tackle the country's stunting issue.

“Ang vitamin K kasi ngayon, mayroon tayong mga reviews na ang vitamin K is related to stunting, that's why doon namin na-realize na baka siguro hindi bumababa ‘yung stunting rate sa country (Recent reviews have suggested a potential link between vitamin K and stunting, prompting the realization that the stunting rate in the country may not be decreasing as expected),” DOST-FNRI Director Imelda Angeles-Agdeppa said.

She highlighted the widespread lack of calcium intake, with 99 percent of the population experiencing a deficiency, leading to bone-related issues contributing to stunted growth.

Despite the recent approval by the Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the adoption of the 2015 Philippine Dietary Reference Intakes (PDRI) Percent Recommended Energy Intakes/Recommended Nutrient Intakes, Agdeppa emphasized the institute's goal of adding more recommended intake values for Vitamin K and Calcium. 

The newly approved PDRI, endorsed in September 2023, is already in effect.

“Kaka-implement lang natin ng PDRI pero nagdaragdag na kami ng iba’t ibang nutrients para po idagdag sa recommendation na iyon (We had just implemented PDRI, but we are eyeing to add more nutrients to that recommendation),” Agdeppa said.

Currently, the recommended Vitamin K intake varies between six to 53 micrograms (µg) depending on sex and age, while the recommended calcium intake for Filipinos ranges from 200 to 1,000 milligrams (mg) based on sex and age.

Although Agdeppa did not specify the exact additional amounts for vitamin K and calcium, the initiative aims to establish reference values for recommended energy and nutrient levels of intake. This information is typically found on food packages.

Data from the National Nutrition Council - Davao Region (NNC-Davao) revealed that in children under five years old in the Davao Region, 5.8 percent experienced stunting, 1.1 percent wasting, and 1.6 percent were overweight. These cases were notably prevalent in Davao del Sur, Davao Occidental, and Davao del Norte. ICE

Related story:

Efforts to boost vitamin K, calcium to combat stunting
CWC-DSWD: Malnutrition rate in Davao Occidental alarming


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