packs intervention successful in curbing malnutrition among 253 Leyte
By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
TACLOBAN CITY –
After a 120-days feeding program using the DOST nutri-food packs
intervention, the 253 children in two pilot areas in
Leyte gained an average weight of two kilos.
Department of Science
and Technology Leyte Provincial Director John Glen Ocana informed that
the 125 children in Pastrana showed an increased weight of 1.92
kilograms while the 127 children in Mahaplag gained an average of 2.2
Director Ocana said
that the result of the pilot testing, the local government units have
been convinced that there is a simple and affordable solution to
arrest malnutrition in the area.
The DOST under the
leadership of Secretary Mario Montejo, developed this nutrition
improvement program as a package of nutrition intervention to free
Filipino children from malnutrition, DOST Region 8 Director Edgardo
Esperancilla told the members of the local media during the Harampang
Ha PIA media interaction held at the PIA Regional Office.
The program targeted
children under two years old because it is during this time when
children undergo rapid growth and development and are highly
vulnerable to malnutrition, Director Esperancilla said.
"This is the age when
the child may have irreversible long-term physical and mental damage
if no intervention is done," the DOST director added.
Under the feeding
program, DOST-FNRI developed 20-gram packs of complementary nutri-food
will be given to underweight children for three months.
eleven-month-old infants were given rice-mongo instant baby food with
96 kilocalories and 3 grams of protein and rice-mongo-sesame
quick-cook porridge with 89 kilocalories and 3g protein.
Rice-mongo curls were
made for one-year-old children and pack 94 kilocalories and 2.4g
protein. The curls were coated with cheese or chocolate for flavor.
Mothers of underweight
children were required to attend nutrition classes on the importance
of breastfeeding for newborn infants, meal plan preparation, and
vegetable gardening to have continuous supply of healthy food.
After three months, a
team will study the effects of the intervention program by monitoring
children's weight, consumption of nutripacks and attendance of mothers
in nutrition classes.
Study results will be
used for designing a community-based nutrition program for Filipino
Rice-mongo blend is
one of national government’s mature technology and a widely-available
food with high energy and protein content. FNRI claimed that its
nutritional quality is better than completely cereal-based commercial
baby food products.
The DOST-FNRI has
picked the towns of Mahaplag and Pastrana in the development of a
model for DOST Package for the Improvement of Nutrition of Young
Children (DOST PINOY) because of the high incidence of malnutrition in
Nationwide, some 1,000
preschool children ages 0 to 5 years old in
Leyte, Antique, Occidental Mindoro, and
Iloilo have been
covered by this feeding initiative. These provinces have recorded high
malnutrition incidence during the latest nationwide nutrition survey
conducted by FNRI.
During the culmination
program in Leyte, the local officials have signed pledge of commitment
to pursue the project. They were also trained on how to get financing
from both government and private sector.
The DOST, FNRI’s
mother agency, is now working out to transfer the technology to local
entrepreneurs and non-government organizations in order to ensure that
rice-mongo nutri-packs will be available in the local market.
Ocaña said that the local government units of Baybay City and Palo,
Leyte have signified their interest to produce this complementary food
for local consumption.
Among 0-5 year-old
Filipino children, almost 2 out of 10 are underweight or an estimated
3.5 million children. These children are vulnerable to infection, slow
growth and development, potentially irreversible physical problem.
The result of the
feeding program in Leyte indicates that the country will be able to
address malnutrition through science and technology-based