Several regions in the country have already adopted DOST PINOY, a science and technology – based malnutrition intervention program developed by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST) to help address the country’s ever increasing malnutrition among Filipino children especially the pre-schoolers after it was successfully tested in Antique, Occidental Mindoro, Leyte and Iloilo where malnutrition is high. The result of a study conducted among 1,006 children who partook of the program showed significant decrease in the prevalence of underweight children.
The “2011 Survey on Updating of the Nutritional Status of Selected Filipinos” conducted by the FNRI-DOST revealed that for every 10 Cordillera children 0-5 years old, two are underweight, three are stunted or under-height.
For underweight, the same survey shows that severity is considered medium in Ifugao, Benguet and Mountain Province, high in Abra, and very high in Apayao.
This is the primary reason why DOST PINOY is set to be introduced in Apayao, DOST-Cordillera Assistant Regional Director Dr. Nancy Bantog said.
She explained that the program tagged as DOST PINOY or Package for the Improvement of Nutrition of Young Children, is a package of malnutrition intervention program to reduce prevalence of underweight among 6 to 35 months old children through a 120-day feeding program of children with the FNRI-DOST developed complementary food blends and snack foods such as rice-mongo instant baby food, rice-mongo sesame blend, and rice-mongo curls and crunches.
Bantog said that along with the complementary feeding, the program will also include nutrition education among mothers/caregivers on basic nutrition, breastfeeding, complementary feeding, meal planning, safe food handling/preparation and backyard vegetable gardening.
Julieta Dorado, Supervising Science Research Specialist at Food and Nutrition Research Institute, explained that the main cause of malnutrition among young children is because mothers rarely continue breastfeeding beyond six months, and no healthy alternative is given to them by the family.
She said that feeding “am”, the liquid from boiling rice which is often given to children as a milk supplement, grossly lacks in nutrients that babies need.#