DOST develops anti-malnutrition complementary foods for children

June 2, 2015 5:15 am 

LEGAZPI CITY, June 1 -– The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has developed complementary foods which have been proven effective against malnutrition among children.

These foods that the agency recently used in its feeding program for children in Agusan del Norte were the rice-mungo curls, rice-mungo baby instant blend and rice-mungo with sesame.

It decreased malnutrition incidence from a high of 74 percent to 34 percent when used in a 120-day complementary food feeding program in Jabonga, a third class municipality in the same province, DOST Secretary Mario Montejo said in a statement reaching here Monday.

Study shows that mungo or mungbean (Vigna radiata), which is mainly used as human food, is one of the cheapest sources of plant protein which contains at least 27 percent protein and a good source of minerals such as calcium and sodium.

Dried mungo bean seeds are high in vitamins A and B while the sprouted ones are rich in vitamins B and C.

Rice, on the other hand, is the staple food serving the predominant dietary energy source for Filipinos.

A study, tied up with the complementary food feeding program spearheaded by the DOST’s Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) and tied up with the Jabonga municipal government through its Social Welfare and Development Office, according to Montejo, showed significant increase in body weights of children after the four-month long feeding program.

“As part of DOST’s commitment to help curb malnutrition in the country, we developed the complementary food technology through the FNRI several years ago with extensive research using readily available raw materials like rice and mungo,” said Montejo.

Complementary food samples were formally presented during the recent Science Nation Tour (SNT) in CARAGA where the DOST intervention was celebrated as a very effective innovation that addressed the municipality’s malnutrition problem, Montejo said.

The rice-mungo curls, a blend of rice flour and mungo, is crispy with an appealing cereal taste enhanced by artificial flavors.

This product, he said contains 130 kilocalories (kcal) of energy and four grams protein per 30 grams serving that is enough to meet the 12 percent of recommended energy and 14.3 percent of recommended protein intake of children with ages of one to three years.

As a nutritious snack, it contains 15 milligram of calcium, one milligram of iron and 21 grams of carbohydrates, Montejo said.

The rice-mungo baby food blend in plain variety, meanwhile, is an instant food preparation rich in protein and energy processed using the extrusion cooking method.

The DOST chief said this food blend contains 120 kcal and four grams protein per 30 grams serving.

This formulation, he said, is enough to meet 17 percent of recommended energy and nutrient intake (RENI) for children aged six to 12 months and 29 percent of recommended protein intake for children of the same age.

It contains 140 calories (19 percent RENI) and four grams of protein (19.4 percent RENI) for children aged six to 12 months.

The DOST’s Science and Technology (S&T) Media Service in the same statement said the first batch of the Jabonga feeding program project had two sets of participants who started in April and October 2014.

Set A had 73 participating children while Set B had 15 who, after the first 30 days of implementation, immediately showed weight status improvements.

It said that within the first month period, 33 of the 73 children achieved the normal weight status for Set A and eight of 15 children achieved the same weight status for Set B.

When the 120-day period ended, it said, 69 out of 73 were declared to be in normal weight for Set A and all 15 declared with normal weight for Set B.

This complementary food feeding program of the DOST-FNRI is now being replicated in other towns and municipalities in the province as well as in the nearby province of Surigao del Norte, and other regions in the country with significant malnutrition problems.

In Bicol, DOST Regional Director Tomas Briñas said the program is very likely to be replicated too in provinces particularly Albay where cases of malnutrition in some of its municipalities have been noted to be prevalent.

According to the latest report of the Department of Education (DepEd) Health and Nutrition Center (HNC), Bicol ranked third highest among the country’s 17 regions in malnutrition among elementary pupils. (PNA)



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