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PIA Press Release

November 7 is Food Fortification Day

Tacloban City (November 2) -- The whole country commemorates November 7 as Food Fortification Day pursuant to President Gloria Macapagal's Executive Order 382.

The Food Fortification program is the government's response to the growing micronutrient malnutrition, which has been prevalent in the Philippines for the past several years.

Ms. Karina Santiago, the regional coordinator of the Nutrition Center of the Philippines said that Food Fortification is the addition of Sangkap Pinoy or micronutrients such as Vitamin A, Iron and/or Iodine to food, whether or not they are normally contained in the food, for the purpose of preventing or correcting a demonstrated deficiency with one or more nutrients in the population or specific population groups.

She said that Sangkap Pinoy or micronutrients are vitamins and minerals required by the body in very small quantities. These are essential in maintaining a strong, healthy and active body; sharp mind; and for women to bear healthy children.

Past studies have shown that worldwide, the problem of malnutrition has been the cause of death of 60% of children less than 5 years old, Ms. Santiago said.

For the Philippines, nutrition surveys since 1993 have been showing increasing prevalence of micronutrient malnutrition, particularly that of Vitamin A Deficiency Disorder (VADD), Iron Deficiency Anemia (IDA) and Iodine Deficiency Disorder (IDD) among children and women of reproductive age, who are the most at-risk groups to micronutrient malnutrition.

Based on the results of the 2003 National Nutrition Survey of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI), the prevalence of VADD and IDA among children and women of reproductive age continue to be high, and for children, they're even higher than that of 1998. Iodine Deficiency Disorder (IDD) has substantially declined among children and pregnant women although it remains high among lactating women.

To address this problem, the Philippines has embarked on a three-pronged strategy of micronutrient supplementation, dietary diversification and food fortification. While all strategies are simultaneously implemented to complement one another, studies show that food fortification is the most cost-effective and sustainable to address micronutrient malnutrition.

All consumers are urged to look for the fortified food products whenever they buy food especially for the children. (PIA 8) [top]

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