The 2016 nutrition month theme is ‘First 1000 Days ni Baby Pahalagahan Para sa Malusog na Kinabukasan.’ (Valuing Baby’s First 1000 Days For A Healthy Future)
The Philippine Department of Health launched the nutrition month theme which focuses on the importance of the first 1000 days of a child’s life.
Rapid Growth and Development
The early stages of a child’s life include the periods of rapid growth and development. Basically, this period starts from the day of conception until the child reaches 2 years old. During this period, the child’s body organs and tissues are currently being formed and developed. This period offers a critical and unique window of opportunity to help shape a child’s long-term health.
The right nutrition during this period has a significant impact on the child’s ability to learn, grow and thrive. Ultimately, it has a lasting effect on the country’s health and prosperity.
With proper nutrition provided during pregnancy and in the first few years of child’s life, you are providing the necessary and important building blocks that aid in efficient brain development, strong immune system and healthy growth.
Research shows that the foundations of a person’s health, which actually includes their predisposition to certain chronic diseases, are set during this ‘golden period of opportunity.’
During the first 1000 days of a child’s life, it is important that they get the right nutrition. Malnutrition early in life can cause irreversible damages to a child’s physical growth and brain development. This can also result in the child’s decreased capacity to perform and learn in school and make the child more susceptible to diseases and infections.
There are various causes of malnutrition like food, care, health, poverty and inequality. These causes result in damages not just to a child’s growth and development but ultimately to how the child performs and serves his or her country.
The damage incurred by malnutrition during the first 1000 days of a child’s life is associated with a country’s economic burden, costing billions in the loss of productivity and avoidable health care costs. However, the damages can be prevented through focusing on improving nutrition on the first 1000 days of a child’s life.
The Department of Health aims to create awareness on the importance of providing proper nutrition on the first 1000 days of a Filipino child’s life.
With this aim, they have highlighted important factors that contribute to this goal like proper feeding practices like breastfeeding for the first 6 months and giving the right complementary foods after six months while still continuing breastfeeding.
This year’s nutrition month celebration also serves as a venue for the launching of the ECCD-IP or Early Childhood and Development Intervention Package for the First 1000 Days program.
This program aims to contribute to the full development of the Filipino child by means of integrating services in nutrition, early education, health and social services. Ultimately, the program aims to improve the quality of the country’s human resource base.
The program addresses the call for having a holistic approach in the provision of nutrition, health, education and social services to children ages 0 to 8 years old with a more refined focus on the first 1000 days of life.