It is striking to note that there is an annual death rate of 15.000 due to malnutrition. A tragic fact is that we are compounding this by our typical lack of basic knowledge and know-how in the preparation of proper meals. Malnutrition has become a nagging obstacle toward the progressive thrust of our government. Unless it is eradicated or reduced to an insignificant level, it will constantly retard every effort to bring about a better quality of life for our people.
An eye-opener is the fact that undernourished children have smaller brains and fewer brain cells (from 15 to 20 percent) than well nourished children. Thus, if at birth a child has an I.Q. capacity of 140 percent but because of malnutrition the gray matter of his brain has been impaired during it’s development, the brain will not develop to it’s 140 percent I.Q. capacity. And if the impairment has reduced it to 100 percent I.Q. capacity, no amount of quality education can improve that child’s I.Q. beyond 100 percent because the original I.Q. capacity has already been reduced to 100 percent. It has been estimated that there is a loss of 2 billion pesos yearly to our local (Philippines) industry caused by malnutrition.
Among the most alarming causes are the five of the top killer diseases and the cumulative consequences of absenteeism, inefficiency, lethargy and proneness to accidents. One of the root causes of malnutrition is the traditional Filipino diet which is rice and fish. This staple combination is very low in calories; lacking in protein, and deficient in Vitamin A, iron and minerals. Survey results indicate that only 30 percent of our preschool children reach the maximum level of development and growth while the other 70 percent is malnourished.
Another cause of malnutrition is our sophisticated life style which generally causes mothers to stop breast feeding their babies. This is a significant drawback in our nutrition program, for mothers milk is the only complete food that is naturally made available for the normal development of a growing child. A malnourished person is therefore unproductive and unresponsive to creativity. He becomes a drag in the dynamic development of our society.