QUEZON CITY, March 21 (PIA) – – Children in the National Capital Region (NCR) are better nourished based on the 2015 Operation Timbang (OPT) results.
The 2015 OPT plus results revealed a declining trend in all forms of malnutrition (underweight (UW), severely underweight (SUW), overweight (OW), wasting or thinness and stunting) among preschool children(PSC) as compared with the 2014 OPT results.
National Nutrition Council-National Capital Region (NNC-NCR) Regional Nutrition Program Coordinator (RNPC) Mila Villegas Federizo reported the good news to the Regional Nutrition Committee (RNC) during its recent meeting.
“Although the decline is minimal, the decrease in all forms of malnutrition is a sign that the efforts and the programs being implemented by the 17 NCR local governments and the assistance given by the national government agencies and other sectors are working,” Federizo said. She also added that the malnutrition rate in NCR is below the national rate.
The 2015 OPT plus with an 83.7% coverage revealed that 96.68% of pre-school children (PSC) or children from 0 to 71 months have normal weights. This is higher than the 2014 OPT that revealed a 96.09% result.
The prevalence of underweight and severely underweight was at 2.47% in 2014 then dropped to 2.17% in 2015. The OPT also revealed a sharp increase of UW and SUW among 12-23 months old and an increasing trend of undernutrition from 0-5 months until 48-59 months. A decreasing trend was noted from 60-71 months for both boys and girls.
The prevalence of overweight children was at 1.44% last year and declined to 1.14% in 2015. Stunting or short for their age was 7.80% as compared to 9.12% in the 2014 OPT. The increasing trend of stunting is seen at 0-5 months and peaks at 36 to 47 months.
Wasting or thinness, another sign of undernutrition was at 3.40% in 2014 and is now at 2.85%.The highest prevalence of wasting, overweight and obesity is among 0-5 months old for both boys and girls.
As to the ranking of the total number of underweight children 0-71 months, Caloocan City has the highest number of underweights at 10,174, followed by Quezon City with 6,098 and Manila with 5,810.
Meanwhile LGU ranking in the 2015 OPT revealed that Marikina City has the highest prevalence of wasting and overweight while Makati City has the lowest. Marikina City is also a consistent highest ranking of overweight prevalence for the past three years.
The Operation Timbang or OPT is an annual mass weighing of all pre-schoolers 0-71 months. It is conducted from January to March of each year by the Barangay Nutrition Scholars (BNS) aided by the barangay Health Workers (BHW). Follow up weighing are also done either monthly or every quarter to monitor weights of the children especially the under nourished to determine the needed intervention. The data generated is used to quantify the number of malnourished, identify barangays with high number of malnourished and identify who will be given priority in the provision of nutrition interventions either by the local or national government and other sectors who are willing to raise the nutrition status of a certain area.
“We appeal to the public to follow the 10 Kumainments being promoted by the National Nutrition Council. It is a simple and easy to remember guideline for a good nutrition towards a healthier and productive populace. Also, the right nutrition in the first 1000 days of life which is between a woman,s pregnance and her child’s second birthday builds the foundation for a child’s ability to grow, learn and thrive.” Federizo concluded. (RJB/LFBPIA-NCR)