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NNC reports increased prevalence of obesity among Filipino children

The National Nutrition Council (NNC) on Friday reported an increased prevalence of obesity and overweight among Filipino children.

At the public briefing, NNC Information and Education Division chief Jovita Raval said at least 3.9% of Filipino children aged five and below and 14% of those aged five to 10 are overweight.

Raval said around 40% of adults aged 20 and above or four out of 10 are overweight.

She also said that 31% of older persons aged 60 and above also experience being overweight.

“Samantala, po tumataas din ang overweight at obesity sa (There is an increased case of overweight and obesity in the) National Capital Region (NCR), Calabarzon, Region 3, at Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR),” she added.

Department of Health (DOH) officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire earlier said among the contributing factors of overweight in children are frequent eating in fast-food restaurants and limited physical activities which may lead to an increase in non-communicable diseases.

Apart from obesity and overweight, the NNC official said that stunting is also a big problem among Filipino children as 26.7% of kids under five years old are stunted based on its latest data in 2021.

“Yung stunting po kasi 'pag nangyari na 'yan sa two years old na karamihan mataas, tuloy tuloy na po 'yung stunting na 'yan na tinatawag nating irreversible, hindi na siya mababalikan pa so 'yun ang pinakamalalang problema ngayon na kinakaharap ng mga kabataan,” Raval said.

(Once stunting happens to two-year-old children, and it is increasing,  it is already irreversible. It is the biggest problem that our children are facing today.)

Raval also said at least 22% of adolescents are stunted, while 16% of pregnant mothers are “nutritionally at risk."

She said increased prevalence of stunting through the years is recorded in Bicol, Mimaropa, and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Meanwhile, Vergeire earlier said an estimated 5% of the global gross domestic product was lost due to reduced productivity and direct healthcare costs related to malnutrition in 2014.

“The United Nations World Food program estimates that the Philippine economy alone faces about 4.5 billion US dollar losses without collaborative action, the future of the Philippines remains stunted,” she added.

Vergeire said the launch of the Philippine Multisectoral Nutrition Project (PMNP) offers a "new beginning for innovations” to be integrated with established strategies.

She said the project is a collective effort of government agencies to shape programs and cater the needs of the Filipino mothers and children.

The PMNP will support the government in adopting a bold, multisectoral nutrition approach to deliver a coordinated package of nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive interventions across various local government unit platforms.

The project aims to achieve key impacts on the health and nutrition of children. It will be implemented in 235 local government units across the country.

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. earlier urged lawmakers to "enshrine" into law policies that will help address malnutrition in the country.—AOL, GMA Integrated News