National Nutrition Council (NNC) Central Luzon underscored that nutrition and human development are crucial factors that will contribute to sustained poverty reduction.
In an interview, NNC 3 Regional Nutrition Program Coordinator Ana Maria Rosaldo said it is important to ensure the proper nutritional status of people, especially children.
“It is important that they [children] are nutritionally well in order to develop their minds and bodies so that when they enter school, they could participate very actively. We know that when children are educated, this will drive them out of generational poverty because they will have more and better opportunities at work and in the society,” she said.
With this, Rosaldo stressed that NNC is beefing up various programs that will accelerate human capital development.
Among this, she said, is the First 1000 Days program which provides holistic approach towards the development of human resources through proper health and nutrition, early education, and social development interventions.
“The first 1,000 days has been called the golden opportunity and is crucial because this will build the foundation of an individual’s ability to grow, learn, and develop. This is the time when all health and nutrition services need to be provided to a child because this is when the brain develops,” Rosaldo said.
The NNC official said this period from conception to the child’s second birthday is important because the effects of nutrition or malnutrition within this timeframe is irreversible, and may result to stunting, wasting, and poor cognitive development.
Rosaldo also mentioned about the Tutok Kainan Supplementation Program of NNC which aims to provide supplementary feeding to children aged 6- 23 months old.
As part also of pushing for human development, NNC is beefing up programs to address hidden hunger or micronutrient deficiencies among children.
“We employ a mix of strategies to address hidden hunger. One way is by providing micronutrient supplements like iron drops to children and folic acid to pregnant women. We also promote the use of iodized salt to prevent iodine deficiency. Another strategy is the food fortification program wherein we add food fortificants like Vitamin A to processed foods to strengthen our immune system,” the NNC official said.
Meanwhile, Rosaldo appealed to the public to support the different nutrition advocacies of the government to be able to achieve the targets under the Sustainable Development Goals and the Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition of ensuring a healthy, well-nourished, and productive population.