Southeast Asian nutrition: Where does the Philippines stand?
MANILA, Philippines – Why are most Filipinos short? We look a lot like our neighbors in the Southeast Asian region and genetically, we’re not that different. Why then do we rank as the second shortest among them?
A report by Save the Children says that most Filipinos are vertically challenged not just because of genetics. It suggests that our shortness stems from generations of insufficient nutrition which can still be seen in grown-ups today who were affected by stunted growth and/or being underweight as kids.
According to the 2015 Updating of the Nutritional Status of Filipinos, a study conducted by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Philippines (FNRI), 1 in every 3 Filipino children, aged 5-10 is affected by stunted growth or is underweight.
To differentiate, stunting, as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), is “the impaired growth and development that children experience because of poor nutrition, repeated infection, and inadequate opportunities to play and learn.”
A child is considered stunted if his height is low for his age, while being underweight is defined as when child’s weight is low for his age.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says it's crucial that a child’s first 1000 days (or until the age of 2) are monitored, since growth potential and brain development are directly affected by these preliminary years.
Need more information? Here’s an infographic covering what you need to know. - Rappler.com