Western Visayas cites increase in child obesity due to COVID lockdowns | Inquirer News

Western Visayas cites increase in child obesity due to COVID lockdowns

/ 10:55 AM July 16, 2022
National Nutrition Council (1) NNC

FILE PHOTO

ILOILO CITY—The National Nutrition Council (NNC) has recorded an increase in the number of overweight and obese children aged 0 to 59 months in Western Visayas in 2021.

Reginaldo Guillen, NNC regional nutrition coordinator, on Wednesday said the rise in cases may be due to the lockdowns imposed because of COVID-19 pandemic which have kept children inside their homes for about two years.

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“Overweight and obesity is increasing [in Western Visayas] probably because during lockdown there was no [healthy] food, no physical activity, or while there was food, it was processed food, so those are contributory,” he explained.

Overweight and obesity in children aged 0 to 59 months old (or under 5 years old) have risen to 2.62 percent in 2021 from 2.41 percent in 2020.

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Overweight and obesity refer to going over the normal weight standards due to sedentary lifestyle, excess eating of processed food, and lack of physical activity, among others.

The NNC, however, said that other major malnutrition concerns, including stunting and wasting, had decreased in the region.

Prevalence of stunting in the region has gone down from 7.13 percent in 2020 to 6.85 percent in 2021.

Stunting, wasting, and obesity are forms of malnutrition, according to the NNC.

Stunting is an indication of chronic malnutrition where children under five years old have a condition of being short in height, their actual height do not match the ideal one at their age.

Another manifestation of stunting is shrinking of the brain as high as 40 percent, contributory to their performance in school and later on in their productivity in life.

This is usually caused by detrimental deprivation of nutrients that happen as early as pregnancy of the mother until two years of the child’s life. This is also called the “critical window of opportunity” for intervention on nutrition, early learning, supervised neighborhood play, and provision of appropriate livelihood for the parents, the NNC said.

Wasting, on the other hand, refers to the condition where children below five are considered as underweight, borne out of short-term hunger and food insecurity or deprivation of proper nutrition and lack of food intake.

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TAGS: lockdown, National Nutrition Council, obesity, overweight, stunting
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