BAGUIO CITY (PIA) -- The Department of Education - Cordillera (DepEd-CAR) recorded a decreasing trend of stunting among school-aged children in the region.
DepEd-CAR Nutrition Dietitian Diane Joaquin reported during the Joint Regional Technical Assistant on Nutrition and Regional Nutrition Evaluation Team meeting on Tuesday (Feb. 28) that stunting among elementary learners has been decreasing in the past school years.
From the 19.42 percent stunting rate in school year 2017-2018, it decreased to 17.83% in SY 2018-2019, to 16.87% in SY 2019-2020, and to 11.86% in SY 2022-2023.
For school year 2022-2023, the highest stunting rate was recorded in Apayao with 17.32%, followed by Kalinga with 15.14%, and Abra with 14.56%.
Decrease in stunting rate was also noted among secondary learners with 14.47% in SY 2022-2023 down from 21.07% in SY 2017-2018. For this school year, the highest stunting rate was recorded in Kalinga with 32.36%, followed by Apayao with 20.35%, Ifugao with 20.34%, and Mountain Province with 20.05%.
Meanwhile, the DepEd-CAR noted an increase in wasting and overweight. Wasting rate among elementary learners increased to 6.67% in SY 2022-2023 from 4.98% in SY 2019-2020 while overweight increased to 5.39% in SY 2022-2023 from 4.03% in SY 2019-2020.
The top three schools divisions that logged the highest rate of wasting among elementary learners are Abra (14.33%), Kalinga (9.9%), and Apayao (7.82%) while on obesity and overweight, the highest is Benguet (8.72%), followed by Mountain Province (7.64%), and Tabuk City (5.8%).
For the secondary learners, wasting rate decreased to 3.98% in SY 2022-2023 from 4% in 2019-2020 while overweight increased to 4% in SY 2022-2023 from 3.03% in SY 2019-2020. Abra logged the highest prevalence rate of wasting with 8.28%, followed by Tabuk City (5.95%) and Apayao (5.82%). On obesity and overweight, the highest is still Benguet (6.32%). followed by Tabuk City (4.56%), and Mountain Province (3.95%).
Joaquin said the DepEd continues to conduct school feeding program particularly for wasted and severely wasted elementary learners.
To address other malnutrition issues, the DepEd plans to integrate nutrition key messages in the school curriculum tailored to specific grade levels, she added.
Aside from the school feeding program, the Department of Social Welfare and Development is also conducting 60-day Supplementary Feeding Program for daycare learners to improve and sustain their nutritional status. (JDP/DEG-PIA CAR)