TAGBILARAN CITY, July 21 (PIA) -- Despite feeding programs implemented in schools and preschools, data from the Bohol Provincial Nutrition Council showed that Bohol towns who have been getting support under the national government's flagship poverty alleviation program still have high prevalence of wasted and severely wasted pre-school children.
Severely wasted children are those who are very thin for their height, while wasted children are those who may not be as worse off but will be if not taken cared of, according to Ardyn Abrea, nutritionist at the Provincial Health Office.
Although the most recent data showed that there is a slight improvement of standings, a town in Bohol ranked top among those with high prevalence of wasted children taking consideration of their weight for height, weight for age, and height for age, she added.
The same record in 2015 showed the town of Buenavista with 10.67 percent, placing them on the top spot, the 2016 data showed the same town pegging a better 10.36 percent for a .31 percent improvement.
This means that in the town's number of preschool children, 10.36 percent or 10 in every 100 preschool children are either severely wasted or wasted and these nutrition authorities still need to get to them.
Buenavista still tops Bohol's list of towns with most prevalent wasted children.
After Buenavista are Anda (7.11%), Pilar (7.05%), Sevilla (6.83%), Loay (6.13%), Candijay (5.64%), Danao (5.42%), Alicia (5.07%), Sierra Bullones (4.97%) and Carlos P. Garcia (4.82%), all in the top ten.
Last year, the same indicators showed Buenavista on top at 10.67 percent, Pilar at 6th place with 6.69 percent, Sevilla on 5th place with 6.60 percent, and Sierra Bullones at 10th place with 5.30 percent.
As to weight for age, 11.79 for every 100 Anda preschool kids have been found to be severely underweight while almost 11 of Buenavista pre-school children have severely stunted growth on their height to age comparisons.
In 2015, the government, through the Department of Education (DepEd) and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) earmarked some P7.2 billion to get to some 4 million malnourished kids - 2 million in school and another 2 million in pre-schools.
While the DEPED and the DSWD implement 120-day nutritional feeding programs, the 4Ps also employ a condition for the cash grants which would push family beneficiaries to get their kids to have medical check-ups and weighing.
These undernourished children have an increased risk of mortality, illness and infections, delayed development, cognitive deficits, poorer school performance, and fewer years in school.
If unchecked, the mortality rate for children under 5 is 34 per 1,000 live births and nearly 45 percent of these child deaths are attributable to various forms of under-nutrition, a 2011 Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) study bared.
As malnutrition undermines human capital and economic productivity, it can also limit progress in achieving at least six of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and targets set by the World Health Assembly.
The FNRI stressed that investing in nutrition in the Philippines is necessary to sustain further gains in development, significantly reduce child mortality, improve children’s school performance, and result in greater economic productivity for the nation. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)