GARIN PUSHES REVIEW OF NUTRITION POLICIES, DRAFT BILL TO ENSURE PROPER NOURISHMENT OF PINOY KIDS
The House of Representatives could soon undertake a comprehensive review of the country’s nutrition policies and programs, AAMBIS-Owa party list Representative Sharon S. Garin said on Thursday, May 7, 2015.
“We need to review our existing laws to ensure that a comprehensive legal framework on nutrition is in place. That is we should support women’s efforts to follow the recommended infant and young child’s feeding practices and we should address obesity by establishing regulations that require nutrition labeling, food fortification and giving subsidies for healthy foods and disincentives for unhealthy foods,” Rep. Garin said.
Garin recently attended the 132nd Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly held in Hanoi, Vietnam, where the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) revealed to Asian lawmakers that a child’s growth will be stunted irreversibly, if he or she fails to get proper nourishment and care during the first 1,000 days from conception to the child’s second birthday.
UNICEF also said there are at least 162 million undernourished children in developing nations.
An advocate of children and food security, Garin is now drafting a bill to institutionalize the care for every Filipino child, especially during the 1,000 day-window, from conception to the child’s second birthday based on the IPU resolution.
The IPU Assembly was a meeting of selected legislators from East and Southeast Asia. It seeks to enhance understanding among lawmakers on issues related to malnutrition and stunting espousing the UNICEF study.
The UNICEF said, under-nutrition is caused by a lack of adequate nutritious food, poor care and feeding practices, and limited access to health and sanitation, especially during the first 1,000 days, which lead to stunted growth (height for age) and impaired cognitive development.
UNICEF warns legislators this poses 20 to 25 percent reduction in income for adults which would result to a 2 to 3 percent loss of the gross domestic product for nations if the problem of under nutrition continues to persist.
UNICEF study further show that in contrast there are about 44 million children under age 5 in developing countries who are overweight and at risk of chronic illnesses, such as diabetes. Of the world’s children with stunted growth two thirds (2/3) live in Asia.
UNICEF urges legislators to ensure that implementation of policies and programs aimed at improving infant and young child nutrition will get fair share of their respective nation’s budget.
Rep. Garin vows to convince her colleagues in Congress to use the powers of scrutiny and oversight of Congress to make sure that the funds are used properly and the concerned departments enforce the pro-nutrition legislations.
“All of us should take stand against unacceptably high rates of malnutrition today. If not, we could find our country saddled with very weak human capital in the future where majority of the population are not smart and fit enough to engage in professional jobs,” Rep. Garin said. /MP