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Did you know that two in every ten children, zero to sixty months old are underweight and that three in every ten children zero to five years old are underheight for age?

These and other nutrition-related issues were discussed during a media forum conducted by the Nutrition Communication Network (NUTRICOMNET) at the DOST regional office in the City of San Fernando, Pampanga. 

 

The nutrition situationer on protein energy malnutrition (PEM)   and micro-nutrient deficiencies and their consequences, current issues on food safety, and the Philippine food fortification program were among the topics discussed during the forum.

Miss Maria IdeliaGlorioso, Nutritionist-Dietician and Salvador Serrano, Science Research Specialist from the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI-DOST) were the two discussants during the forum which was attended by representatives from other national government agencies as well as tri-media groups from print, television and radio.

According to them, the three key micro-nutrient deficiencies that are of public health concern are iron deficiency anemia (IDA), Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) and iodine deficiency disorders (IDD).

Infants and children suffering from IDA have retarded physical growth and have reduced resistance to infection leading to frequent illness. VAD, on the other hand, is manifested by nightblindness and rough, dry skin and membranes of nose and throat, while iodine deficiency results in severe physical and mental underdevelopment in children.

One of the strategies being used to address these issues is through the food fortification program as mandated by Republic Act No. 8976 or the Philippine Food Fortification Law of 2000. This law requires that one or more essential nutrients must be added to imported and locally processed foods for the purpose of preventing or correcting a demonstrated deficiency of one or more nutrients in the population or specific population groups.  However, it was mentioned that there is a need to intensify the enforcement of the law among food manufacturers and also sustained effort to inform the public of the benefits of fortified foods.

Mrs. Belen Q. Garcia, DOST-III Asst. Regional Director for Finance and Administrative Services, welcomes guests during the NUTRICOMNET media forum held at the DOST3 conference room last May 8, 2014.
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