CEBU CITY -- Two years into the pandemic and most of the world has adapted to the changes brought about by the new normal. However, the National Nutrition Council (NNC) Region 7 has found a trend we truly do not want to keep – increasing malnutrition trends.
The 2021 Operation Timbang (OPT) Plus results reflect the nutrition situation in the region. There is a slight increase in malnutrition, particularly among underweight children from 4.2% in 2020 to 4.9% in 2021, and overweight and obese children from 2.7% to 3.1% in the same time period.
It is also noted that despite the decrease in prevalence rating from 10.1% in 2020 to 9.7% in 2021, the magnitude of stunting has increased from 60,819 to 72,179 children less than five years of age already chronically malnourished.
Similarly, although there were no changes in the prevalence rates of overweight and obesity, the number of recorded children with said form of malnutrition increased from 14,382 to 17,884. (Access the full Central Visayas 2021 OPT Report here.)
This data is reflective of the changes in lifestyle and diet of children and shows the food insecurity experienced by one end of the population and the decrease in physical activity and increased consumption of processed food at the other end of the spectrum.
The results of the 2021 OPT Plus is a call to action for the people of Central Visayas to be more conscious of the threat of malnutrition and its effects to population health and efficiency.
Specific action points are as follows:
- For individuals and households: follow the 10 Kumainments and the Pinggang Pinoy (read more about it here)
- For health and nutrition workers: implement PPAN programs that address your locality’s nutrition concerns (read more about the PPAN here)
- For Local Chief Executives and Local Government Units: to support the nutrition program by integrating nutrition in local development plans and annual investment programs
- For academe, business sectors and civil society: to include nutrition and nutrition-sensitive activities in their work and financial plan and actively participate in Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) activities. (read more about SUN here). (PR)