Nutrition: A Child’s First 1,000 Days In The Philippines

In line with the Zero Hunger Challenge and the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) initiative of ensuring zero stunted children, the World Food Programme (WFP) is committed to preventing stunting in children through nutrition interventions for pregnant and nursing women and children aged 6-23 months. Read how families in the Philippines learn how to improve their nutrition.

In the Province of Maguindanao, WFP has found that almost half of the children between the ages of 6-59 months are stunted (low height for their age). To help improve the nutrition status of children in Maguindanao, WFP launched a feeding programme in the Municipality of Upi.

Mothers and children who participate in WFP’s nutrition programme learn the fundamentals about proper nutrition while receiving specialised nutrition products that will prevent stunting and malnutrition.

Working With Mothers And Children

The World Food Programme's Philippines nutrition programmes

                                              Maria Christy Paderna sits with her child.  (Photo: WFP/Latip Macapintal)

  • Registration: Mothers, such as seven-months-pregnant Maria Christy Paderna, pictured above, register their children, who are then issued with an Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) card by the Philippines government. This will serve as a checklist for the child’s development through the crucial 1,000 first days of their life.

Measuring Important Child Growth Indicators

 The World Food Programme's Philippines nutrition programmes

  Kaizer Gorit is joined by her parents as she takes her monthly measurements. (Photos: WFP/Latip Macapintal)

  • Measurement: Seven-month-old Kaizer Gorit, pictured above, has her height measured and recorded. A child’s height is an important indicator for stunting. Additional measurements like the weight and mid-upper arm circumference are also recorded for a comprehensive growth monitoring practice.

Counselling Families On Proper Food And Nutrition

The World Food Programme helps counsel families about proper nutrition in the Philippines

  Kaizer Gorit parents receive counselling from a WFP nutrition expert.  (Photo: WFP/Latip Macapintal)

  • Counselling: WFP data indicates that only 43 percent of families have sufficient access to food and, diversity of food in Maguindanao. Counselling, therefore, is vital in informing families on the correct daily food and nutrition intake. In partnership with UNICEF, parents such as Cemerisa and Christopher Gorit listen to an expert nutrition counsellor on providing the right food at the right time. This advice helps support and ensure their daughter receives the proper nutrients for good growth. Parents are also educated on the importance of good nutrition through the Philippine government’s recent campaigns on proper food intake, the Pinggang Pinoy and Ten Kumainment.

Providing Specialised Nutrition Products

The World Food Programme helps counsel families about proper nutrition in the Philippines

                                              (Photos: WFP/Geovani Lapina and WFP/Latip Macapintal)

  • Regular Visits: Participants are encouraged to regularly visit their health facility. Through their visits, pregnant and nursing women and children 6-23 months old are provided with specialised nutrition products. They also receive continuous counselling during their visits.

Research confirms that good nutrition in the early years of life is crucial for human growth and mental development. WFP's ongoing nutrition programmes in the Philippines address the irreversible effects of micronutrient and energy deficiencies in the critical first 1,000 days of a child’s life. That’s why a large part of our nutrition work is directed at young children and mothers.

With additional reporting from Geovani Lapina.