A study conducted by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) revealed that while the government campaign to nourish underweight children is gaining ground in the Ilocos region, the number of overweight children is on the rise and that Region 1 has the most number of overweight kids in the country.
In a forum attended by KBP-Pangasinan media, Nutrition Officer II Ethelreina Balisnomo said that the problem can be attributed to the eating habits of children with the food being served by their parents and the lack of exercise among them.
Latest data from the National Nutrition Council (NNC) on the malnutrition rate of pre-school children aged 0-5 years old in Region 1 also revealed that in 2013, the combined rate of severely underweight and underweight (SUW/UW) children dropped to 4.79 percent from last year’s 5.25 percent.
The same data revealed that overweight pre-school children rose last year by 1.61 percent from 1.57 percent in the previous year.
“Overweight children tend to sit or lie down while focused on their gadgets, playing with computers or sleeping in between meals,” Balisnomo said.
She said such a lifestyle among children has limited body movement and, therefore, deprived the body of the proper exercise it needs.
Speaking at the same forum, Dr. Moises Soriano of the Department of Health (DOH) said a person, whether underweight or overweight, is considered malnourished.
In Region 1, Ilocos Norte has the highest percentage of severely underweight and underweight (SUW/UW) children at 7.53 percent, followed by La Union (5.38%), then Ilocos Sur (4.92%), and finally Pangasinan (3.94 percent).#