Monday, May 19, 2008

The Hidden Hunger

A seven year old girl, named Mary jane, was rushed to the emergency room of the local hospital. "She fainted!" her mother yelled. "She was not able to eat breakfast this morning even though we prepared enough. She must be hungry."

After the doctor checked Mary Jane and a series of test. The doctor said "shes not just hungry... she has hidden hunger. we call it Iron Deficiency Anemia".

Are Filipinos hungry?

Recent survey says that hunger in Philippines declined to 15.7% from 21.5% in September 2007. According to the SWS, this is specifically involuntary hunger, which means, suffering hunger but not necessarily mean not having anything to eat. Good to know that our government is trying its best to reduce hunger but its a long way to go.

The same survey says that in Mindanao, 15.3 percent says that the moderately hungry which means they are suffering only once or a few times in the previous 3 months.

The Hidden hunger or Micronutrient malnutrition on the other hand is still high especially in the case of Iron Deficiency Anemia (IDA). According to the study conducted by Department of Science and Technology-Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI) in 2003, there is an increasing incidence of IDA in infants at 66% from 56%, likewise it was found out that 50.3% of pregnant women and 42% of lactating women were anemic.

IDA causes Fatigue, low productivity and apathy among adults and poor school performance among children.

We have managed to reduce hunger and there is alarming increase of hidden hunger most of infants, children, pregnant and lactating mothers.

In 2000, The RA 8976 or the Philippine Food Fortification Act 2000 was signed into law. Its government strategy to reduce the hidden hunger. It aims to increase dietary intake of Vitamin A, Iron and Iodine equivalent to 50% of recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) contributed by fortified food.

RA 8976 mandates the fortification of staple food to include Rice with Iron, flour with Vitamin A and Iron, Edible Oil with Vitamin A, and Sugar with Vitamin A.

The Department of Health (DOH), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD), Depatment of Interior and Local Government (DILG), National Nutrition Council (NNC), National Food Authority (NFA), Local Government Units (LGU), and other non-government organizations are working together to reduce micro-nutrient malnutrition.

"DI LANG BUSOG DAPAT MALUSOG!" (Not just full but also healthy) are one of the slogans used by the advocates against hidden hunger. Indeed, rice could be available but is it healthy? Fortified Rice should be made available to everybody.

Today, the GRAINS FORTIFICANT Marketing Inc. and AGRI-SENSE ENTERPRISES is helping reduce the Iron-Deficiency Anemia by having Iron Fortified Rice Premix or Colored Rice available to grassroots level. Colored rice is the only fortified premix approved by the DOH and BFAD in Mindanao if not Nationwide. This is manufactured by CG Foods by coating the common rice mixed with Iron (Ferrous Sulfate) and passed the standards set by BFAD.

The program is now implemented in Region XI. Fastfood chains like Chowking, Jollibee, McDonald, other food establishments in Davao are serving not only rice but iron-fortified rice. Other neighboring cities like Tagum, Panabo, Island Garden City of Samal, Mati, and municipalities of Bansalan, Matanao, and Magsaysay are making every effort to have Iron Fortified Rice in their areas.

For more information contact


Jen said...

Thank you for educating me on this issue. I am the CIO of YOBI, and would be honored if I could either use your post — or if you would make this post yourself — in our United Nations discussion forums. We are hoping to create a truly international discussion of the issues that face our global community, and your post here proves that you would be a valued participant in that discussion.

Janoz Xn Yesu S. Laquihon said...

Thank you for dropping bye and found this issue valuable. I would be happy to share this to your discussions world wide. We are now working that the program would be implemented at rural areas since they are often behind on government services.


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