Combating malnutrition through food gardening

Industry Notes

By Baby Ann Melinda Velonta

The Philippine Association of Nutrition (PAN) introduced Food Gardening during their 71st Annual Convention with the vision to improve the overall nutritional status of the Filipinos. The project aims to convince all the national and local organizations to focus on practical ways to solve hunger and malnutrition issues of the country.

With the theme “Bahay Kubo: Ugaliing Magtanim Upang Wastong Nutrisyon ay Anihin,” this year’s convention aims to encourage food gardening in the homes, schools and community so that the citizen’s food access will be improved and that way, hunger and food insecurity will be addressed.

According to Dr. Chory Ignacio, overall chairman, food gardening is the cultivation of vegetables and fruits in the backyards of houses or land spaces in schools and communities. It also involves livestock raising and poultry.

Dr. Ignacio pointed out that the main struggle when it comes to nutrition in the Philippines is the lack of food and the rise of diseases. “Malnutrition sets in because we basically lack food,” she said.

Officers and board members of the Philippine Association of Nutrition (PAN) led the opening ceremony and ribbon-cutting
of their 71st Annual Convention held at Novotel Hotel, in Quezon City

She explained that malnutrition exists in two forms, under-nutrition and over nutrition. Under-nutrition involves stunting, or being short for age, and wasting, or being too thin for height. Over-nutrition, on the other hand, involves overweight and obesity which leads to the risk of acquiring non-communicable diseases. Micronutrient deficiency which is also very prevalent among very young children and pregnant women also falls in the malnutrition category.

According to Food and Nutrition Research Institute’s report on 2015 Updating of the Nutritional Status of the Filipinos, 31.1 percent or one out of every three Filipino children aged 5-10 years old are affected by stunted growth while 31.2 percent or one out of every three Filipino children aged 5-10 years old are underweight.

“With this initiative we are hoping we can empower women,” Dr. Ignacio said. The Bahay Kubo food garden concept provides opportunity for women to sell products and have the extra money to buy other food items.

On the other hand, teachers and local nutrition partners should ensure the adoption of food gardens or Gulayan sa Paaralan to reinforce the food they serve at school during feeding sessions with the required nutrients for the children to grow and stay physically and mentally active.

Nov 2018 Health and Lifestyle

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