DAGUPAN CITY, July 14– The National Nutrition Council said the number of severely underweight and underweight children in Region 1 has dropped but the number of overweight children soared.
The council’s records showed that severely underweight and underweight pre-school children aged 0-5 years old was at 4.79 percent in 2013 compared to 5.25 percent in 2012.
However, overweight pre-school children rose to 1.61 percent in 2013 from 1.57 percent in 2012.
Ethelreina Balisnomo, nutrition officer II, said the survey conducted by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) showed that Region I has the most number of overweight children in the country.
“This (overweight) can be attributed to the eating habits of children and the lack of exercise,” Balisnomo said during the KBP Forum held at the Philippine Information Agency Office last week.
She said children either sleep or grab their gadgets after having their meals or play computers while sitting or lying down.
Dr. Moises Soriano, a Department of Health representative who was also present during the forum said, a person, whether underweight or overweight is considered malnourished.
In Region I, the province of Ilocos Norte has the highest percentage of severe underweight and underweight (SUW/UW) children with 7.53 percent followed by La Union (5.38 percent), Ilocos Sur (4.92 percent) while Pangasinan has the lowest percentage of underweights with 3.94 percent.
In the city category, San Carlos City in Pangasinan has the highest rate of SUW/UW with 9.40 percent, followed by Batac City in Ilocos Norte (8.42 percent), Dagupan City (7.79 percent), Candon City in Ilocos Sur (6.97 percent) and Urdaneta City in Pangasinan (4.11 percent).
For the overweight category, the top five municipalities in the region with the highest percentage are: Mangatarem (3.64 percent), Labrador (3.49 percent), Sarrat (3.28 percent), Bugallon (3.23 percent) and Asingan (3.11 percent).
In Pangasinan, the top five municipalities with the highest percentage of underweight children are: Bugallon, Aguilar, Labrador, Mangatarem and Bautista while the top five towns with overweight children are: Mangatarem, Labrador, Bugallon, Asingan and Sta. Barbara. (VENUS H. SARMIENTO)