Barangay Nutrition Scholars (BNS) from all over Metro Manila pledged to end hunger and malnutrition in the country during the annual Barangay Nutrition Scholars’ Forum held at the Valenzuela City Social Hall last on Friday, July 12
Around 180 barangay nutrition scholars from all over the National Capital Region (NCR) joined the forum organized by the National Nutrition Council (NNC) and the Nutritionist-Dieticians’ Association of the Philippines in celebration of the National Nutrition Month.
Now on its 39th year, the National Nutrition Month celebration activities for 2013 are anchored on the theme, “Gutom at malnutrisyon, sama-sama nating wakasan. (Hunger and malnutrition, let us end it together.)”
The theme is based on the first of the 8 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which is, to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
Guest speakers University of Santo Tomas Hospital Associate Dietitian, Maria Bernadette Platon, Mandaluyong City Barangay Nutrition Scholar, Mary Grace Tamayo, and NNC Nutrition Officer, Ana Maria Rosaldo led the participants in pledging to take steps to alleviate hunger and malnutrition among Filipinos.
Average probability, slow pace
Rosaldo said the focus of the theme this year is due to the worsening hunger in the country, as shown by data from various institutions.
Rosaldo points out that as a signatory to the MDGs, the Philippines should reduce by half the percentage of household with inadequate energy intake from 74.2 per cent in 1993 to 37.1 per cent in 2015.
Barely two years before 2015, is the Philippines nowhere near to attaining that goal.
The 2008 National Nutrition Survey shows that the percentage of Filipino households with inadequate dietary intake – households whose daily intake is below 100 per cent of the dietary energy requirement – increased from 57 per cent in 2003 to 66.9 per cent in 2008.
The Philippines also aims to reduce by half the prevalence of underweight-for-age children below the age of five, from 27. 4 in 1990 to 13.7 in 2015.
The prevalence only slightly decreased from 20.6 per cent 2008 to 20.2 per cent in 2011, the 2011 National Nutrition Survey shows.
“The probability that the Philippines could achieve these goals is average, and at a slow pace,” said Rosaldo.
Rosaldo said the government has set in place policies and programs for the eradication of hunger.
The Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition is the country’s framework for the improvement of nutrition among Filipinos. It provides for priority actions that include promotion of desirable infant and young child feeding, home and community food production, and integrated management of severe and acute malnutrition.
Agrikulturang Pinoy or Agri-pinoy, the Department of Agriculture’s strategic framework, employs “sustainable agriculture and fisheries, natural resource management and local development” to ensure national food security.
To achieve rice sufficiency, the government aims to increase the total production of rice in the country from 15.77 million metric tons in 2010 to 22.73 million metric tons in 2016. Through Proclamation 494, President Benigno S. Aquino declared 2013 as the National Year of Rice to raise awareness among stakeholders about this goal, as well as to campaign against rice wastage.
Rosaldo also hailed the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program as a significant effort by the government to combat malnutrition.
“If we address hunger, we address not only health and nutrition concerns, but national economic progress as well,” said Rosaldo.
Pledge to End Hunger and Nutrition
By the National Nutrition Council
I will help end hunger and malnutrition.
I will promote breastfeeding and correct complementary feeding practices of infants and young children.
I will encourage families to have home and community vegetable gardens and raise small animals.
I will not waste food especially rice.
I will buy and eat only what I need.
I will share my food with the hungry.
I will spread correct information about nutrition and hunger.
I will participate in nutrition programs of my community.