Food guides helpful in fight vs. anemia among kids – FNRI

By Ma. Cristina Arayata

May 29, 2024, 10:07 pm

<p>(Image grabbed from Bacolod City Nutrition Committee's Facebook page)</p>

(Image grabbed from Bacolod City Nutrition Committee's Facebook page)

MANILA – The use of food guides and meal planner could be helpful in preventing anemia among children, particularly 6 to 12 years old, a representative from the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) said Wednesday.

FNRI Science Research Specialist Kim Irvin Protacio said anemia or the condition when the body has low levels of red blood cells or hemoglobin, is more common among children aged 6 to 12 primarily because they are undergoing rapid growth and development.

In a televised Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon briefing, Protacio said parents could use food guides like Pinggang Pinoy, or menu calendars that could provide them with easy and nutritious recipes.

"Diets lacking in vitamins minerals such as iron, folic, vitamin B12 could cause anemia. Parasitic infection could impede the utilization of vitamins and minerals in the body," he said.

"Examples of iron-rich foods are pork, beef, and chicken, but these have to be taken in moderation. Iron-rich vegetables like moringa, alugbati and sweet potato leaves could also complement those meat," he added.

Protacio also encouraged parents to support the government's Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, saying it not only provides financial assistance but also nutrition education.

Regular consultation with a doctor is also advised.

Pre-pandemic surveys of the FNRI showed that one in 10 school-age (6 to 12 years old) children has anemia.

"That is based on the 2018-2019 nutrition survey of the FNRI, and the (result) is considered a public health problem of mild concern. The FNRI has been doing another survey since last year to update the data," he said.

Meanwhile, Protacio said symptoms of anemia include dizziness, shortness of breath, exhaustion, and pale skin color.

"It's better to have your blood checked to confirm if you have anemia," he said. (PNA)