Breastfeeding, child feeding info can combat malnutrition
MANILA, Philippines — Proper breastfeeding of babies six months and up and knowing what to feed children are some of the ways to combat malnutrition, an official of the Department of Health (DOH) said Wednesday.
Breastmilk alone is rich in vitamins, energy, and protein, And it has the right amount of sugar, according to Dr. Antonio Calibo, the officer in charge of the DOH-Disease Prevention and Control Bureau said during the Unicef Philippines launch of the State of the World’s Children 2019 report in Makati.
“It can assure the nutrition of the child on the first six months,” Calibo added.
“Now when during the first six months, that’s where the problem arises,” Calibo went on, speaking in Filipino. “ First, there’s lack of knowledge of what the child should eat. Second, when should the child be fed? Sometimes, the child is fed to early for his age, sometimes too late, And the third, it’s the notion of what food is best to be cooked or served fast.”
According to the Unicef report, one out of three Filipino children under 5 years old are stunted, 7% of children are too thin for their age, and 7% are too thin for their height.
On the other hand, the report says a tenth of Filipino adolescents are considered overweight.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the term “malnutrition” covers two groups of conditions: “undernutrition” that includes stunting, wasting, and underweight; and “being overweight” or obesity.
With this, Calibo mentioned “complementary feeding,” which is defined by the WHO as “the transition of breastfeeding to eating family foods.”
“The problem is the lifestyle of the family,” Calibo said in explaining the poor diet of some children. “Both parents are working. The caregiver or the grandparents who take care of the child, sometimes they do not have time too. Sometimes, they resort to quick-fix solutions, those that are fast.”
He advised health practitioners to guide children on what to eat during the early stages.
“If we don’t properly educate the parents, their children will get used to eating what’s being served to them,” he said… Eventually, they will crave salty, sweet foods, and this is where malnutrition starts.”
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