If the youth are the hope of the nation, then Antipolo City can aspire for a healthier, more dynamic future. The city anchors its aspirations on its youth who will be freed from the burden of malnutrition with the launch of the Department of Science and Technology’s PINOY program in one of Antipolo’s barangays.
Officially called the “Package for the Improvement of Nutrition of Young Children”, DOST’s PINOY program was launched May 11 in this city to beef up the nutrition status of children 6-35 months old in Barangay Cupang particularly. The DOST-PINOY implementation in this barangay is made possible through the sponsorship of Alagad, a partylist that focuses on improving the plight of the Filipino urban poor.
DOST’s PINOY is designed to improve the health status of children under three years old and to give opportunity to entrepreneurs who are interested to produce DOST-developed complementary food.
Breaking the malnutrition cycle
“The first two years of life is a very critical period. When kids are malnourished at this stage, the ill effects of malnutrition to their bodies and brains will be irreversible,” said DOST Sec. Mario Montejo. “Malnourished kids are sickly, do not perform well in school, and have unhealthy worldview. When they grow up, they will become unproductive and raise malnourished families. The cycle will just keep repeating itself.”
“It’s time to break this cycle through DOST’s PINOY program,” he added.
The DOST-PINOY program was launched last year in various parts of the country, including Negros Occidental, Iloilo, Antique, and Taguig City, where positive results were found by the PINOY research team from the DOST’s Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI).
The FNRI team rolled out the DOST-PINOY program in Brgy. Cupang by holding first a two-day nutrition education training for Barangay Nutrition Scholars (BNS), barangay health workers (BHWs), and barangay volunteers. The trainees will later train the mothers and caregivers on proper nutrition, breastfeeding, meal planning, proper food handling, and others. They will also handle the 120-day feeding of FNRI-developed complementary food to Brgy. Cupang’s young children aged 6-35 months. The feeding will run from May 21 to Sept. 17.
What is complementary food?
Studies have shown that malnutrition among younger children is usually caused by inadequate feeding after the baby weans from breastfeeding, which is from six to 24 months after birth.
According to Julieta Dorado, PINOY project leader, babies are usually fed with “am” or the viscous liquid taken from boiling rice which lacks micronutrients that growing babies need. To address this nutrition shortage, DOST-FNRI developed various complementary foods to add more nutrients, particularly energy and protein, to the diet of children who at this age are usually weaned from pure breastfeeding and introduced to other kinds of food.
The DOST-FNRI complementary foods are rice-mongo-sesame blends in 20-gram boxes that come in ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook packages. Meanwhile, DOST encourages entrepreneurs interested to produce complementary foods to partner with DOST and FNRI in the PINOY program. (Framelia V. Anonas)