3.22.2017

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Rise in teen pregnancy alarms health advocates

By Ma. Anna Rita M. Ramirez

MANILA, Mar. 22 - Teen pregnancy in the Philippines is on the rise , according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) which recently disclosed that at least one in 10 girls, 15 to 19 years old become pregnant.  This figure is up by 2.1 percentage points since 2003.

According to UNFPA, the Philippines is “the only Asia-Pacific country where the rate of teen pregnancies rose over the last two decades.”  At least 19 in 100 girls, 18-24 years old had first sexual intercourse before reaching 18, as 2 in 100 girls 15-24 years old did similarly before age 15.  These figures represent 4.4 and 0.8 percentage points increase over a 10-year survey period, respectively.

These data suggest a sustained increase in sexual activities and pregnancies at an early age, according to the 2013 Philippines National Health and Demographic Survey (NDHS).

These statistics reflect the implementation status of the Reproductive Health (RH) Law (Republic Act No. 10354), that “ensures access to reproductive health information, life-saving commodities, and services to reduce maternal mortality and empower families to decide the number and spacing of their children”, teen pregnancy included.

At least 28.7 percent of married teens 15-19 years old have “unmet need” for family planning.  Specifically, 24.9 percent have “unmet need” “for spacing” and 3.9 percent for “limiting”, the 2013 NDHS adds, implying inadequate access to reproductive healthcare among this age group.

The 2015 Updating Survey of the Department of Science and Technology’s Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI) disclosed that 24.7 percent of pregnant Filipino women were nutritionally-at-risk, of which 39.7 percent are below 20 years old.

The 2013 FNRI National Nutrition Survey on the other hand, revealed that only 43.4 percent of pregnant women surveyed availed of nutrition counselling.

Advocates of the First 1000 Days say these figures leave a vacuum for health and nutrition intervention, especially as teen pregnancy is a far more fragile condition compared to the regular pregnancy of adult women.

The whole nine months or 270 days of human gestation is critical for adequate growth and development of the fetus that requires constant pre-natal care of the pregnant woman.

Teen pregnancy is more complicated since the body of an adolescent female is not yet fully developed to cope with the demands of pregnancy on top of the physiological demands for her own growth in height, weight and body fat at this life stage, according to Stang (2000)

These physiological demands should be supported with added requirements for energy and other nutrients.

Difference in growth maturity among female adolescents across chronological age exacerbates the plight of the pregnant, younger and more “biologically immature” ones.

There is competition between the teenage mother and the fetus for energy and nutrients compared to their “non-growing” counterparts or those who are biologically mature, Stang adds.

Implications of early pregnancy among “still-growing pregnant adolescents”, which is more than 50 percent, can be summarized as poor pregnancy outcome, including low birthweight infants and tendency to retain weight gained after childbirth for the mothers, Stang further notes.

Prognosis for low birthweight infants whose health and nutritional needs are inadequately met is poor, resulting to early stunting.

Increased weight gain among teen mothers will implicate later into their adult years as non-communicable diseases.  And the cycle goes on.

The First 1000 Days is identified as the “window of opportunity” where food and nutrition intervention can address nutrition vulnerability in the fetal, infant and young child’s life.

When we talk about fetal life, it is the pregnancy status of the would-be mother that needs special attention.

Rise in teen pregnancy should be nipped in the bud, calling action from multi-agency and multi-lateral sectors concerned with social and youth welfare, education, health, nutrition, population, and civil society organizations.

Starting from the womb, countdown to the first 1000 days starts and ends just before the child turns three years.

For more information on DOST-FNRI’s researches, contact Dr. Mario V. Capanzana, Director, Food and Nutrition Research Institute, Department of Science and Technology, General Santos Avenue, Bicutan, Taguig City:  Telephone/Fax Nos: 837-2934 or 837-3164; Direct Line: 839-1839; DOST Trunk Line:  837-2071-82 local 2296 or 2284; email: mvc@fnri.dost.gov.ph or at mar_v_c@yahoo.com; DOST-FNRI website at http://www.fnri.dost.gov.ph.  Like our Facebook page at facebook.com/FNRI.DOST or follow our Twitter account at twitter.com/FNRI DOST.  (DOST-FNRI S&T Media Service/PIA-Caraga)


Only 1 in every 10 Filipino meal planners read nutrition facts

By Charina A. Javier

MANILA, Mar. 22 - A recent nationwide survey done by the Department of Science and Technology’s Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI) in 2015 showed that only 10.0 percent or 1 in every 10 household’s meal planners read nutrition facts among those who read food product labels.

The proportion was lower than in a 2013 FNRI survey which showed that 12.7 percent of meal planners who read product labels reported reading nutrition facts.

Product labels serve as guide to consumers in choosing which product to buy, ensuring safety in consumption of such items. Under the Revised Rules and Regulations governing the Labeling of Prepacked Food Products under the Department of Health (DOH) Administrative Order No. 2014-0030, the mandatory label information include product name or name of the food, use of brand name and/or trademark, complete list of ingredients, net contents and drained weights, name and address of manufacturer, repacker, packer, importer, trader, and distributor, and lot identification.

Likewise, nutrition labeling is a system of describing products on the nutritional properties of the food. It aims to provide accurate nutrition information about each food which is printed in food labels as nutrition facts.

The 2015 FNRI survey showed that 90.2 percent of meal planners reported buying food products or beverages with labels. The most commonly bought packed food or beverage items with labels were coffee and tea (70.7%), cereals and products (69.3%), spices and condiments (50.8%), milk and products (43.7%) and meat and other animal products (42.2%).

Date of expiration (80.8%) was the most common information checked by meal planners who read product labels. This was followed by brand name (23.0%) and ingredients (20.1%). A few reported checking the cost (14.8%) and nutrition facts (10.0%) in the product labels.

Calories per serving, total fat and cholesterol were the nutrition information usually read among those who reported reading nutrition facts. Likewise, 57.1 percent of meal planners who read nutrition facts said it always influences them in buying products, while 35.3 percent reported it only influences them sometimes.

Higher proportions of meal planners always reading food product labels were found among those who reached higher education levels, younger adults, living in urban residences and belonging to higher wealth quintile groups.

These results need to be considered in the pending proposal of mandatory nutrition labeling in the Philippines. Consumers must practice reading product labels always and learn to understand the information in the nutrition facts correctly.

For more information on food and nutrition, contact:  Dr. Mario V. Capanzana, Director, Food and Nutrition Research Institute, Department of Science and Technology, General Santos Avenue, Bicutan, Taguig City; Telephone/ Fax Nos: 837-2934 or 837-3164; Direct Line:839-1839; DOST Trunk Line: 837-2071-82 local 2296 or 2284; e-mail: mvc@fnri.dost.gov.ph or at mar_v_c@yahoo.com; FNRI-DOST website: http://www.fnri.dost.gov.ph.  Like our Facebook page at facebook.com/FNRI.DOST or follow our Twitter account at twitter.com/FNRI_DOST. (DOST-FNRI S&T Media Service/PIA-Caraga)


Caraga MSMEs undergo biz operations management training, consultancy

By Gabrielle Espinosa

BUTUAN CITY, Mar. 22 (PIA) - Forty-five (45) Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) all over the region went through a comprehensive training and consultancy on Business Operations Management on March 15-17 this city, as part of the Manufacturing Productivity Extension Program (MPEX) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) – a program that assists MSMEs in the manufacturing sector to attain and sustain higher productivity.

The training intended to review how the business is run and how to control the labor force. It primarily focused on the factors to consider in diagnosing a business. According to Engr. Andre Paolo Lim, chief MPEX consultant in Caraga, there are 13 factors to consider when analyzing the status of a business’s operations management – Administrative and Personnel Management, Marketing Activity, Research and Development, Packaging, Financial Management, Production Layout, Production System, Materials Management, Waste Management, Machineries and Equipment, Materials Handling, Housekeeping, Sanitation and Safety.

“We make business to earn money and increase manufacturing productivity. An MSME should always put in mind that good business always works and operates for profit. These factors should regularly be checked as it will always affect profit,” he emphasized. Engr. Lim and his team of consultants from the Summit Consultancy and Research Services is DOST Caraga’s partner in promoting manufacturing productivity in the region.

DOST concentrates more on the aspect of Research and Development for the MSMEs through the updating of relevant operation and production technologies, relevant product offerings, product differentiation and the development of other relevant business components.

The consultants carried out a one-on-one consultation with the MSMEs in the assessment of how their business is managed. Summit consultancy also provided detailed recommendations in all aspects of the Operational Management.

Prior to the training, the consultants made an on-site visit to the firms for a baseline study on how these firms operate their business on the ground. The consultancy also served as a progress monitoring report – an updating of how these MSMEs by-far achieved effective operations management.


Aside from its MPEX Program, DOST also provides technological services to MSMEs through its Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP), Microbiological, Physical and Chemical Analysis, Packaging and Labelling Service, Nutrifacts Analysis and Shelf-life Analysis. (DOST-Caraga/PIA-Caraga)