e-nutrition portal to help arrest RP's malnutrition problem

Philippines - The government is taking its fight against malnutrition to a new level through the e-nutrition portal, a website that would help arrest the problem of "double burden of malnutrition" prevalent in developing countries, including the Philippines.

The recently-launched http://www.enutrition.fnri.dost.gov.ph portal offers features and key nutrition information, including basic nutritional guide, Body Mass Index calculator, and the nutri-GIS (geographical information system) that identify areas plagued by malnutrition.

"It will enable policymakers to do the necessary intervention by identifying areas where malnutrition is widespread and require specific interventions," said Department of Science and Technology Undersecretary Fortunato dela Pena.

The portal is designed to cater to the policymakers, including the Department of Education and the Department of Health's National Epidemiological Center, and the local government units, where hard facts about Filipino's nutrition status can be sourced out.

Dela Pena also said that the portal, which reveals the true status of malnutrition at a macro economic level, will serve as a wake up call for local government units to formulate efficient measures to address the problems of malnutrition in their respective areas of jurisdictions.

"e-nutrition will serve as essential tool in alleviating malnutrition in the country," he added.

DoST Secterary Estrella Alabastro, meanwhile, acknowledged the role of the information and communication technology (ICT) in the development and the advancement of food and nutrition.

"The DOST recognizes the immense changes that could possibly be brought about by ICT to our country," she said.

The FNRI earlier revealed that the country is facing a "double burden of malnutrition," particularly the increase in the number of underweight cases among Filipino children and overweight cases among the Filipino adults.

The FNRI said communicable diseases was overtaken by non-communicable diseases as leading causes of death due to decreased intake of fruits, vegetables and other nutritional foods, and the prevalence of smoking.

The FNRI's 2003 National Nurtrition Survey said that malnutrition among Filipino children aged 0-5 years old is prevalent at 27 per cent, while 25.6 per cent of children aged 6-10 are underweight. In addition, 15 per cent of pre-adolescents and adolescents aged 11-19 years old are underweight.

One of the country's MDG is to reduce to half the 1990 proportion of the population that are below the minimum level of dietary energy consumption by 2015.

Using the 1993 UN data as benchmark, 74.2 percent of Filipino households had per capita intake below 100 percent dietary energy adequacy. The country's goal therefore 12 years from now, is to reduce to 34.1 percent the proportion of households and, hopefully, the population with per capita energy intake below 100 percent adequacy. (PNA)