THE trend on the prevalence of malnutrition among pre-school children aged zero to 59 months old in Iloilo City is steadily declining from 2019 to 2023.
Data from the Iloilo City Health Office (CHO) showed that cases of stunting, wasting, and overweight/obese among the said age group went down from 2.30 percent, 1.50 percent and 3.10 percent in 2019 to 1.80 percent, 0.90 percent and 2.60 percent in 2023, respectively.
Based on the Operation Timbang Plus (E-OPT) 2023 of the CHO-Nutrition Program, of the 36,926 pre-schoolers weighed in Iloilo City, 628 or 1.7 percent are severely underweight and underweight; 957 or 2.6 percent are stunted and severely stunted; 348 are wasted and severely wasted; and 647 are overweight and obese.
With the Iloilo City Nutrition Center targeted to be operational this year, CHO Nutritionist-Dietitian II Clarisse Montealto-Nieves said they expect the figure to further improve.
“We hope to further reduce the number significantly this year with our new facility and other interventions,” she said.
According to CHO head Dr. Annabelle Tang, the stronger nutrition endeavors of barangays and other City Hall offices like the Office of the City Agriculturist (OCA) are something to look forward to.
Tang said aside from the regular feeding activities in the barangays, maintenance of gulayan or vegetable gardens and other initiatives at their level, the CHO and OCA will expand the adopt-a-malnourished child program, which is currently being implemented in some barangays maintaining the JPT Ediscape or Edible Landscaping.
Once the malnourished children are adopted, they will be provided not only with nutribuns and other supplemental feeding, but also with fresh vegetables and fruits.
“We will monitor their nutrition status quarterly to see their improvement,” she added.
The CHO chief also noted that currently, there are 59 kids from barangays Calumpang, San Juan, Navais, and Calahunan who are beneficiaries of the Mingo Nutrition Program, a project of Ilonggo Senator Franklin Drilon in partnership with the Iloilo City Government, Negros Volunteer for Change, and businessman Don Alfonso Tan.
“With all these initiatives and interventions, we are confident that we can win the fight against malnutrition for the benefit of our Ilonggo children,” Tang said. (PR)