MANILA, Philippines – One in every 4 pregnant Filipino women is nutritionally at risk.
This is according to a 2011 survey on updating the nutritional status of Filipino children and other population groups conducted by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI). The survey results were initially released in April 2012.
The report showed that 35.7% or about a third of pregnant women below 20 years old are nutritionally at risk, based on weight-for-height requirements. 23.3% or 1 out of 5 pregnant women above 20 years old is also at risk.
The study also looked at the prevalence of nutritionally at-risk pregnant women by months of pregnancy.
Results showed that 27.9% of pregnant women are nutritionally at-risk on the 1st trimester, 25.3% on the 2nd trimester, and 23.2% on the 3rd trimester.
Pregnant women from MIMAROPA (43.6%), Western Visayas (33.2%), Cagayan Valley (32.6%) and SOCCSKSARGEN (29.4%) regions recorded the highest percentage of nutritionally at-risk cases.
The survey also studied the prevalence of malnourishment among lactating mothers.
Results revealed that 11.9% of lactating mothers are underweight, while 17.7% are overweight.
Based on age group, 11.8% of lactating mothers less than 20 years old are underweight. 11.9% of lactating mothers more than 20 years old are also underweight.
Being overweight is also a problem among lactating mothers. 6.7% of mothers less than 20 years old and 18.8% of mothers over 20 years old are overweight.
The study shows that the poor health condition of pregnant women puts them at risk —they deliver low birth weight babies or have negative pregnancy outcomes like stillbirths and miscarriages.
Sen Cynthia Villar, on Thursday, July 11, said that poverty is still the root cause of this problem.
“We really have to continuously improve on the poverty level of the country…I always believe na yung economic empowerment is very important for our country to solve this problem,” she said.
(We have to continuously improve on the poverty level of the country. I always believe that economic empowerment is very important for us to solve this problem in our country.)
Villar said that giving sustainable livelihoods to women will also help improve women’s health.
“Personally…(I) believe it is always best to teach people how to fish so they can fend for themselves, they can feed themselves and their families for a lifetime,” she said.
Villar added, “Our long term approach really is to provide these people with skills and livelihood to make our health more lasting.”
WeDpro chair Dr La Rainne Sarmiento said that parents need to share responsibilities to solve health issues in the family.
“Promoting shared parenting and shared responsibilities by both women and men ensures more effective and sustained family and community programs,” she added. -Rappler.com