February 3, 2023

Most children aged zero to 59 months in the province of Abra are either underweight, wasted, stunted, or overweight or obese, according to the results of a survey on prevalence of malnutrition in 2019.
Based on the 2019 Operation Timbang Plus results for the Cordillera gathered from the different provinces and cities, the National Nutrition Council-CAR noted that underweight, stunting, wasting, and overweight/obesity are prevalent among zero to 59 months old children living in 18 of the 27 towns of Abra, when compared to the respective regional targets for each malnutrition indicator based on weight.
The regional target for underweight is 2.97 percent, 2.26 percent for wasting, 11.08 percent for stunting, and 2.74 percent for overweight/obesity.
The results showed the towns of Bangued, Boliney, Bucay, Bucloc, Danglas, La Paz, Lacub, Langiden, Luba, Malibcong, Manabo, Peñnarrubia, Pilar, San Isidro, San Juan, Tayum, Tineg, and Villaviciosa are coded red or have 0 to 59 months old children who registered as either 10 percent or higher underweight, seven percent or higher wasted, 20 percent or higher stunted, and four percent or higher overweight/obese.
Among the 18 towns, San Juan is consistently red in all weight categories, with 12.88 percent underweight, 7.76 percent wasting, 22.30 percent stunting, and 7.76 percent overweight/obesity.
Only Lagangilang has consistent equal or lower rates than all the regional targets, with 1.69 percent underweight, 1.10 percent wasting, 5.18 percent stunting, and 0.70 percent overweight/obesity.
Overall, Abra has an average of 8.78 percent underweight, 4.96 percent wasting, 17.28 percent stunting, and 4.65 percent overweight/obesity, which are the highest among other Cordillera provinces.
For other parts of the region, Baguio City has the lowest malnutrition rates at 1.09 percent underweight, 0.35 percent wasting, 2.42 percent stunting, and 0.74 percent overweight/obesity.
Regionwide, the Cordillera has an average of 3.56 percent underweight, 1.90 percent wasting, 10.18 percent stunting, and 2.33 percent overweight/obesity, which is among the lowest rates nationwide.
In a recent meeting with the members of the CAR Media Educators on Nutrition, NNC-CAR nutrition officer Bhel Basalong said the figures for Abra show there is a double burden of malnutrition in the province, as it has the highest rates both for over and under weights.
NNC-Cordillera Director Rita Papey said while various interventions identified during seminars and workshops have been done to address the situation, these should be translated into action and should have budgetary support.
She said an important factor in attaining a good nutrition status among the zero to 59 months old children, which has been achieved in the other provinces, is having an active nutrition councils from the barangay up to the provincial level where communities are involved in discussing and planning how to help families with malnourished children.
“But the thing is it is important that the mothers would be convinced to do the proper way of taking care of their children’s health. It is really up to them, being the primary nutrition providers,” she said.
The results of the 2019 Operation Timbang Plus were consolidated by NNC-CAR from the mass weighing conducted within the barangays. The prevalence of underweight is based on weight for age and includes underweight and severely underweight; wasting is based on weight for height; stunting on height for age; and overweight is based on weight for height measurement. – Hanna C. Lacsamana