Anemia prevalence among Filipinos has decreased

The results of 2008 National Nutrition Council conducted by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) showed a decreasing trend in anemia prevalence among Filipinos.

According to the Wikipedia Dictionary, anemia is a decrease in number of red blood cells or less than the normal quantity of hemoglibin in the blood.

Among children 6 months to less than one year, from 49.2 anemia prevalence in 1993, it climbed to 56.6 in 1998 and 66.2 in 2003 and decreased to 55.7 in 2008.

Among children 1-5 years, the anemia prevalence in 1993 was 42.0; it decreased to 35.6 in 1998, climbed to 37.4 in 2003, and made a downturn of 20.9 in 2008.

Among children 6-12 years, from 25.7 in 1998, it climbed to 29.6 in 1998, tapered to 29.1 in 2003 and 19.8 in 2008.

However, in certain packets of the population, like infants 6 months to 1 year, 1 year old children, and pregnant women, nutritional anemia is still a major health problem.

For this reason,  this agency which is under the Department of Science and Technology had been conducting researches geared towards the improvement of the nutritional status of Filipinos.

The DOST-FNRI has reported that it has developed the iron premix rice (IPR) using the extrusion technology in order to make iron-fortified rice (IFR) less expensive. Also, it worked on the fortification of margarine with vitamins A, B1, iodine, omega-3 & 6 fatty acids and the development of fresh miki with squash aimed to offer healthy, nutritious and affordable alternative products to the masses.

National Nutrition Council Executive Director, Assistant Secretary of Health Maria-Bernardita T. Flores has also expressed her optimism that the government’s initiatives insofar as promoting good nutrition would reap positive results.

The NNC has been advocating mothers to  breastfeed their child.

For this year, NNC focused the Nutrition Month celebration on vegetables after a survey by the FNRI came out that Filipinos on the average are eating less and less vegetables in the past three decades.

This year’s theme, “Pagkain ng gulay ugaliin, araw-araw itong ating ihain!” seeks to promote vegetable gardening as a source of additional food and income and increase demand for vegetables to help local vegetable farmers.

To reduce anemia among children, the FNRI recommended the following: promotion of proper child feeding practices in terms of duration of exclusive breastfeeding and timely introduction of complementary foods as well as increased availability and access of iron supplements, deworming and poverty-reduction and food insecurity initiatives.#