December 4, 2022

The National Nutrition Council has refocused anew its campaign on the significance of ensuring a baby’s healthy development on the first 1,000 days.
NNC-Cordillera OIC Coordinator Bella Basalong said this year’s Nutrition Month celebration is again focused on raising public awareness on a baby’s first 1,000 days following a survey showing a minimal number of Filipinos are aware of it.
Basalong said a survey conducted by the NNC in January showed only 11 percent of Filipinos are aware of the importance of the first 1,000 days. The number of respondents was not immediately known.
The first 1,000 days starts from conception up to two years.
The first 1,000 days of life is considered the period of opportunity when the foundation of optimal health, growth, and neurodevelopment across a person’s lifespan are established.
Basalong said the low awareness on ensuring proper nutrition during a child’s first two years is contributory to prevalence of malnutrition, such as wasting, severe wasting, underweight, overweight and obesity, and stunting.
In the Cordillera, where the prevalence of stunting is higher than the national prevalence rate, Basalong said this can be addressed during a child’s first 1,000 days.
Stunting is a condition in which a person is shorter than their age.
The prevalence of stunting among kids under five years old in the region is 36.7 percent or three to four in every 10 kids under five are stunted.
The national prevalence rate is 33.4 percent.
Basalong said the notion that Cordillerans are usually shorter because of their genes or race is a misconception.
She said a child’s development for the first 1,000 days is the same across all races.
“Genes play a factor in a child’s height development but environment and nutrition play a greater role. This is why giving them proper nutrition is important. Sayang naman ang adjustment sa height nila if we don’t pay attention to their first 1,000 days,” Basalong said.
She added overweight and obesity among children should also be given attention because these are associated with the development of non-communicable disease later on in life.
In the Cordillera, the prevalence of overweight and obesity among kids under five is 3.1 percent, lower than the 3.9 national rate.
The prevalence of wasting and severe wasting is 4.5 percent, lower than the 7.1 percent national prevalence and the World Health Organization’s five percent standard.
The prevalence of underweight is 15 percent, also lower than the 21 percent national prevalence.
Basalong said the NNC first focused its Nutrition Month celebration on the first 1,000 days in 2016. – Jane B. Cadalig