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IN THE KNOW: Understanding malnutrition

/ 07:19 AM February 19, 2018

The Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) of the Department of Science and Technology defines malnutrition as the pathological state, general or specific, resulting from a relative or absolute deficiency or excess in the diet of one or more essential nutrients, which may be manifested clinically or detectable by physical, biochemical or functional signs or both.

The forms of malnutrition are undernutrition, specific nutrient deficiency, overnutrition and imbalance.

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From the data collected by the FNRI for the 2016 Updating of the Nutritional Status of Filipino Children and Other Population Groups Survey, the institute found that the number of Filipino children who were underweight and “underheight” or stunted increased from 2013 to 2015.

Underweight and stunted are defined as children with weight and height below the standard for their age.

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The prevalence of underweight children aged 0-5 years increased from 20.0 to 21.5 or two of 10 children.

The stunted prevalence increased from 30.3 to 33.4 or three of 10 children.

There was also a significant increase in the prevalence of underweight children aged 5-10 years from 29.1 in 2013 to 31.2 in 2015.

The number of stunted children in this age group likewise increased from 29.9 to 31.1.

According to the 8th National Nutrition Survey of the FNRI conducted up to April 2014, the regions with the highest number of underweight children aged 0-5 years were Mimaropa, Western Visayas and Bicol Region.

The Bicol Region also ranked high among the regions with the highest number of stunted children aged 0-5 years, together with the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and the Zamboanga Peninsula.

For the regions with high cases of wasting, or children with weight below the height standard for their age, Mimaropa, Ilocos Region and Western Visayas ranked the highest in the country.

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Cases of overweight children were more prevalent in the National Capital Region, Calabarzon and Central Luzon. —INQUIRER RESEARCH

Sources: Food and Nutrition Research Institute, Philippine Statistics Authority

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TAGS: FNRI, Food and Nutrition Research Institute, Malnutrition
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