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PIA Press Release
2005/01/08

NNC: One-third of Filipinos lack iron

By Rose Palacio

Davao City (8 January) -- Iron-deficiency anemia (IDA) affects more than one-third of the general population, up from only 16.6 percent in 1982.

Seventy percent of infants, 45 percent of pregnant women and more than 50 percent of lactating mothers are affected, according to NNC regional head Ma. Teresa Ungson.

Guesting in DXRP’s “Takna sa Kahimsug” radio forum, she said deficiencies in Vitamin A, iron and iodine are extensive and almost exclusive to children and women. The same sectors are also plagued by protein-energy malnutrition.

She said iron deficiency disorder (IDD) is another major nutritional problem, as shown by the increasing incidence of goiter from 1982 to 1987 among pregnant women and lactating mothers.

Provincial and regional estimates indicate that the prevalence rate of anemia among children between six months and five years old ranged from 19.8 percent in Northern Mindanao to 50.6 percent in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Aside from ARMM, other highly affected regions are Cagayan Valley, Eastern Visayas, and Western Mindanao.

At the provincial level, the highest prevalence rate among infants and preschoolers are spread throughout the country with Tawi-Tawi (in ARMM region) registering 61.1 percent, followed by Western Samar at 59.1 percent; Quirino (in Cagayan Valley) at 56.8 percent, and Masbate (Bicol) at 56.2 percent

Among pregnant women, prevalence rates ranged from 32.1 percent in Caraga to 64.4 percent in Bicol.

Anemia was highly prevalent in 12 out of the 16 regions in the country.

At the provincial level, Eastern Samar (in Eastern Visayas) registered the highest rate of 84.2 percent, followed by Quirino (Cagayan Valley) at 31.7 pecent, Maguindanao (ARMM) at 74.4 percent and Camarines Sur (Bicol) at 73.5 percent.

Anemia prevalence rates among lactating women ranged from 30.9 percent in Central Mindanao to 71.9 percent in Western Mindanao. Except for Southern Tagalog, Northern Mindanao, Central Mindanao and Caraga, anemia prevalence were greater than 40 percent for all regions. (PIA-RPalacio) [top]

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