Aside from COVID-19, the National Nutrition Council (NNC), rivets their eyes on stunting issue as the 46th nutrition month celebration is about to conclude this month of July.
Guided with the theme “Batang Pinoy, Sana Tall… Iwas Stunting, Sama All! Iwas all din sa Covid-19” City Population Officer and Nutrition Action Officer (CNAO) Nancy Adalin said the council paid attention to the issue of stunted growth because based on the World Health Organization (WHO) cut-off points, children in the Philippines below five (5) years of age is considered high in magnitude and severity when it comes to stunted growth.
Meanwhile, the Philippines ranks fifth among countries in East Asia and Pacific Region with the highest stunting prevalence and one of 10 countries with the highest number of stunted children in the world.
CNAO Adalin explained further that WHO is not convinced of the belief that the shortness of height is a hereditary factor because based on their comparative study conducted, children anywhere in the world have experienced the same growth potential when provided with the same optimum care. Due to the latter report, the NNC is now conducting a massive campaign on proper nutrition through the local initiatives of every Local Government Unit (LGU) to solve stunting concern that has long been a social issue.
Meanwhile, Adalin also stated that based on WHO research, stunting has grave consequences on individuals and societies both on short and long-term effects.
For the individual, she expounded that stunting before the age of two (2) years entails poorer educational outcomes in later childhood and adolescence that may result in a less year of schooling than non-stunted individuals.
It also has an impact on behavioral development wherein stunted children are more apathetic, displays less exploratory behavior, and have altered physiological arousal.
On the other hand, it is said that the economic effect for shorter height is likely to have less job opportunity compared to the non-stunted and are more optimistic about escaping poverty in their adulthood.