NUTRITION CORNER: Ilocos Sur heightens nutrition campaign, promotes fortified food

By Imelda C. Rivero, PIA 1, Ilocos Sur


VIGAN CITY, Oct. 25 — The Ilocos Sur Provincial Nutrition Office (PNO) has been promoting fortified food to fight malnutrition among residents since 2004 and it has strengthened such move these days as it activated the Barangay Nutrition Scholars (BNS)to guide and train residents in the 34 towns and two cities of the province to select fortified food which help prevent illnesses caused by lack of nutrients.

The BNS help to train residents on the use of fortified food by closely monitoring their use through home visits, barangay assemblies, seminars and trainings on food and nutrition.

The provincial government program on food fortification includes promoting extensive awareness of the use of fortified food in the province, especially where food sources of some nutrients are not available.

National government agencies concerned such as Department of Health (DOH), Department of Science and Technology, the National Nutrition Council, are encouraging Filipinos to buy cooking oil, flour, rice, sugar and salt brands with the Sangkap Pinoy Diamond Seal. This seal guarantees that the brands have met the fortification standards for vitamin A, iron and/or iodine set by the DOH.

Provincial Nutritionist Edna Castillo further explained that in food fortification one or more essential nutrients are added to food, whether or not these nutrients are normally contained in the food. This is to prevent or correct deficiencies with one or more nutrients.

Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals required by the body in small quantities. Vitamin A, iron and iodine are three most important micronutrients needed by the body to function normally. Micronutrients are not produced by the body but are only provided by the food eaten, she added.

There is micronutrient malnutrition when there is inadequate intake of food rich in vitamin A, iron and iodine. And this lead to illnesses and malfunctioning of the body. Pregnant and lactating mothers, women and children, have higher micronutrient requirements than men.

Micronutrient malnutrition causes Vitamin A Deficiency Disorders (VADD), Iron Deficiency Anemia (IDA), and Iodine Deficiency Disorder (IDD).

VADD leads to serious eye ailments that can result to blind-ness; increased susceptibility to childhood illnesses and infections; growth retardation and increased child deaths.

“IDA causes low endurance and work capacity, sluggishness; impaired mental and physical development for children; for women, increased probability of death during child birth and delivery of sickly children.

While IDD results in preventable mental retardation; brain dysfunction; deaf mutism; goiter; growth retardation; and increased risk of miscarriage, abortion and still births for women,” Castillo clarified.

The provincial government expects that with this inter-vention by the government and with Filipinos religiously choosing food with the Sangkap Pinoy Seal at the grocery stores, these illnesses will no longer concern Filipinos in the near future.#