Prevent Stunting: Ensure good nutrition in the First 1000 Days (Pregnant and Lactating Women, Infants and Young Children)The First 1000 days of life, also known as the “golden window of opportunity” is the period wherein good nutrition must be given to mother and child to ensure the child’s proper growth and development. This period starts from pregnancy until the child’s second birthday.

However, it is also during this period when growth faltering happens. Stunting or “pagkabansot” in Filipino is an irreversible outcome of inadequate nutrition and repeated bouts of infection during the First 1000 Days. Stunting has long-term effects which include diminished cognitive and physical development, reduced productive capacity and poor health. Stunted children are also prone in becoming overweight and obese in their adulthood.

Good nutrition, health, and proper care in the first 1000 days gives the child the best start to life. So how can we ensure good nutrition in the First 1000 Days?

Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement 3.0 Philippine Launch on June 2, 2021 at 4:00-5:30 pm via ZoomMANILA, 02 JUNE 2021– The Scaling Up Movement( SUN) 3.0, the third phase of the United Nations-established movement, calls for accelerated results to eliminate all forms of malnutrition by 2030. In the launch of the SUN 3.0 strategy in the Philippines, stakeholders from the SUN Networks including government, civil society, business sector, academe and donors committed to enhance leadership and country-ownership of nutrition actions to achieve results.

In 2014, the Philippines became the 51st country to join the SUN Movement which has now grown to include 63 countries. The National Nutrition Council Governing Board approved the Philippine registration to the SUN Movement to gain support from other SUN member countries and international development partners, and the United Nations agencies in improving the nutrition situation of the country and in harmonizing existing strategies to ensure effective implementation in order to achieve nutrition targets.

Bakit mahalaga ang iodized salt?The simplest, effective, and cheapest way to get away from iodine deficiency and thyroid diseases is the consumption of none other than --- iodized salt!

Based on the 2018-2019 FNRI-DOST Expanded National Nutrition Survey, 2 out of 10 pregnant mothers are iodine deficient.  Poor iodine levels during pregnancy can threaten the baby’s mental health and in severe cases, causes brain damage. It can also result in stillbirth, spontaneous abortion, and congenital abnormalities such as cretinism - an irreversible form of mental retardation. Iodine deficiency can likewise lead to goiter or the enlargement of the thyroid gland and hypothyroidism, which are preventable disorders of the thyroid gland. 

Meeting with Local Nutrition Cluster Coordinators and Local Information Management Officers held on May 27, 2021 via ZoonMetro Manila local government units (LGUs) continue to provide nutrition services despite the current pandemic. In an online meeting with local nutrition cluster coordinators and local information management officers on 27 May 2021, participants from the 16 cities and one municipality in Metro Manila confirmed that the delivery of nutrition services is being sustained despite the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Guided by the nutrition cluster advisories issued by the National Nutrition Council (NNC), nutrition workers such as Barangay Nutrition Scholars and nutritionist-dietitians, and other service providers work together to reach out to pregnant and lactating mothers, infants and young children especially the malnourished, and their families.

Signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between NNC-NCR and DAR-Region III and Marketing Agreement between NNC-NCR and Sto. Tomas San Luis Farmers Association, Inc. under the Enhanced Partnership against Hunger and Poverty Program The National Nutrition Council – NCR (NNC-NCR) signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and Marketing Agreement with DAR-Region III and ARBO in support of the implementation of Tutok Kainan for Pregnant Women in Metro Manila.

The signing ceremony was held on May 20, 2021 at Clark Marriott Hotel, Pampanga witnessed by representatives from DAR-Region III and DAR Provincial Office in Pampanga. Representatives from DAR Central Office, Office of the Cabinet Secretary, and nutritionist-dietitians from the cities of Caloocan and Navotas were also virtually present during the ceremony via Zoom.

How can local government units scale up the first 1000 days of life interventions?Child stunting is a complex problem that requires multisectoral and well-coordinated interventions among different sectors and stakeholders. Evidences suggest that nutrition-specific evidence-based interventions should be scaled up to attain 90% coverage to reduce child stunting by 20%. These interventions include iron-folic acid and other micronutrient supplementation for pregnant women and children, promotion of iodized salt, dietary supplementation, implementation of essential newborn care (ENC) protocol, neonatal vitamin K administration, vitamin A supplementation, and promotion of breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices. Better coverage of nutrition-sensitive interventions especially for women and children should also be prioritized.

In 2018, the Republic Act 11148 or the “Kalusugan at Nutrisyon ng Mag-Nanay Act” was passed into law to scale up national and local health programs and strengthen delivery of services and interventions in the first 1000 days of life. One of the key players mobilized by the law are the local government units (LGU). LGUs should directly supervise the implementation of the First 1000 Days program in the health centers, rural health units, and/or barangay health stations.