Child stunting cases decrease, NCC says

By Cet Dematera


Cases of child stunting in all the four mainland and two island provinces of Bicol have significantly decreased in the middle of the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic, the National Nutrition Council (NNC) reported on Monday, Dec. 7.


NNC Bicol regional coordinator Arlene Reario was quick to explain though that the drop in the child stunting cases this 2020 is an offshoot of previous interventions implemented by concerned government agencies, particularly local governments, in the past years.


“We are attributing or giving credit (to) this drop in the cases of children with abnormal height relative to their age to the past and present efforts and interventions implemented by the concerned agencies,” Reario told Bicol Mail.


NNC latest data show that Albay recorded the lowest percentage of child stunting with 14 percent in 2019 and 12 percent in 2020, or with two percent drop; followed by Camarines Norte with 15.8 percent in 2019 and 14.9 percent in 2020, or with 0.9 percent drop; Sorsogon with 17.1 percent in 2019 and 15.7 percent in 2020, or a drop of 1.4 percent;


Masbate with 21.2 percent in 2019 and 18.6 percent, with a significant decrease of 2.6 percent; Catanduanes with 22.5 percent in 2019 and 19.2 percent in 2020, with 3.3 percent, the biggest drop in all provinces; and Camarines Sur with 23.5 percent in 2019 and 21.3 percent this year, or a notable 2.2 percent decrease in child stunting in Bicol’s biggest and most populous province.


Overall, Bicol region has posted a 2.067 average drop in child stunting cases, or from 19.06 percent in 2019 to 16.95 percent this year while Covid-19 pandemic is still present.


Reario said that one of the factors that could have significantly contributed to the decrease in child stunting cases is breastfeeding as preferred by most mothers than bottled feeding.


“We are glad at NNC to note that Bicol posts high percentage in breastfeeding,” Reario added.


She said that the most effective way to prevent stunting is to breastfeed the child during his/her first 2,000 days from birth.


“This is because milk of the mother contains the needed nutrients that a child needs to have a complete body development,” Reario said.


But she agreed that supplemental interventions as the child grows including supplemental feeding, eating nutritious food and observing good hygiene could also contribute to prevent stunting.


“But foremost practice to prevent or avoid child stunting is for the mothers to breastfeed their babies,” Reario said.