Philippines ranks 2nd in Southeast Asia on growth stunting

Your child may look cute for being short for his age, but have you ever considered the possibility that he may be suffering from growth stunting?

In 2011, the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI) conducted a study on the nutritional status of Filipino children showing that 3 in every 10 children, ages 0-5 years old, are stunted for their age. Among those aged 6-11 months, there is a 16.2 percentage of stunted growth and the rate reaches as high as 33.6% when the children turn one.  In a 2003 study by FNRI, data also shows that growth stunting in children 5 years of age occurs as high as 33.9% and the rate or prevalence of stunting continues to be high at 36.4% in children between 5 and 10 years old.

A United Nations Development Programme study also revealed that the Philippines has the second highest incidence of stunting in Southeast Asia, with Indonesia getting the top spot.

As early as 2008, the Philippines was already in the red zone of the UN Human Development Report on account of a high prevalence of growth stunting (placed at 30 to 39 percent) in children under the age of five.

All of these studies show that the incidence of growth stunting has become a serious concern that could impact the health of Filipino children.

According to medical experts, growth stunting is caused by two main factors: malnutrition and recurrence of illness or infections. The prolonged inadequacies in nutrient intake as well as recurrence of illness can slow down skeletal growth and eventually lead to linear growth retardation.

The incidence of growth stunting is said to be highly prevalent in developing countries like the Philippines where underprivileged children grow substantially less than the children who belong to higher socioeconomic strata. An American Journal of Epidemiology study also noted that height deficits in children from the developing world are more strongly related to poverty and other environmental influences than to genetic influences in body size, despite differences in ethnicity across socioeconomic strata.

Ceelin Plus, a Unilab brand, has launched the “Kontra Sakit, Kontra Liit” campaign to increase awareness about growth stunting and highlight the importance of strong immunity to help combat the said condition. The campaign also promotes vitamin C and zinc preventive supplementation to boost the immune system and prevent sickness, thereby resulting in normalized growth and preventing growth stunting.

According to health experts, Vitamin C forms part of the body’s natural immune system and stimulates the activity of antibodies and immune cells while zinc is required for the normal development and maintenance of the immune system.  The children will greatly benefit from regular intake.

Growth stunting can be prevented by increasing immunity against repeated illness and by nourishing the kids properly. According to meta-analysis, preventive supplementation of 10mg/day of zinc has the most significant effect on linear length in children less than five years of age.

Health experts say that one way to keep children healthy and prevent growth stunting from happening is through Vitamin C and Zinc supplementation. The key in fighting recurring sickness is to feed a child’s immune system. Vitamin C is one of the top immune boosters that aids growth and development while Zinc influences hormonal regulation of body growth contributing to a child’s growth.

To know more about growth stunting, its relationship with immunity and and how to prevent this increasing health issue among Filipino children, visit the Ceelin Plus “Kontra Sakit, Kontra Liit” website at www.ceelinplussteps.com and like CeelinPlus on Facebook (www.facebook.com/CeelionPlus) for more updates and tips.

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