A pregnant woman and her son brave the searing heat of the El Niño dry spell as she begs for loose change along JP Laurel, corner Cabaguio Avenue, Agdao, Davao City. (Medel V. Hernani/davaotoday.com)

The National Nutrition Council warned that lack of nutrition during the First 1000 Days of a child can cause irreversible damage to his growth and development. This photo of a pregnant woman and her son braving the searing heat as they beg for loose change along J.P. Laurel, corner Cabaguio Avenue, Agdao in Davao City was taken in September last year. (Medel V. Hernani/davaotoday.com)

DAVAO CITY — The City Health Office here has received P10 million budget to implement the city’s nutrition program. The budget is higher by P4 million compared to the previous year.

In a press release, Dr. Josephine Villafuerte, head of the CHO said the city will strengthen the program to curb infant malnutrition in line with the observance of Nutrition Month.

The theme of this year’s Nutrition Month is “First 1,000 Days ni Baby, pahalagahan para sa malusog na kinabukasan” (Value baby’s first 1,000 days for a better future).

“We would like to increase awareness of the importance of proper nutrition, and early childhood care and development during the first 1,000 days of life,” said Villafuerte.

The CHO plans to conduct a series of activities that include education on pregnant mothers and women planning pregnancy at the city’s main health centers and in various barangays.

“(The topic) is not just about taking care of the nutrition of the babies, but also taking care of the mothers because once you have a malnourished mother, automatically the child would also be malnourished,” she said.

CHO would also promote the importance of breastfeeding in private and public birthing facilities, and increase case finding and rehabilitation of malnourished children.

First 1000 Days

National Nutrition Council Executive Director Maria-Bernadita T. Flores in her Nutrition Month message said the baby’s first 1,000 days is a “golden window of opportunity” for a child to achieve maximum growth and development potential.

The first 1000 days starts on the day that a woman conceives a child until the child’s second birthday. At this time, the child’s development is rapid and he should be provided with adequate nutrients for his growth and development.

“If nutrition lacks during the First 1,000 Days, it could cause permanent and irreversible damage to children, including stunting, or a condition where a child’s height is not proportional to his age,” Flores said.

“We say irreversible because there is no cure for it and it will be carried by the child until he gets old,” she added.

Flores also said that stunting could lead to decreased intelligence and there is risk to acquire noncommunicable diseases like heart ailment, cancer and diabetes.

Based on the Philippine’s National Nutrition Survey, 33.4 percent or one in every three kids aged 0-5 years old are stunted.

The National Nutrition Council, by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 941, spearheads the celebration of Nutrition Month in order to create awareness on nutrition in the country. (davaotoday.com)

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