San Jose, Antique – The University of Antique (UA) sealed the deal with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST VI) in addressing malnutrition through Nutri Kart, a movable food stall which sells nutritious food and snacks.

DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña (second from the right) and DOST VI Regional Director Rowen R. Gelonga unveil the Nutri Kart to the public in line with the 2017 Technology Caravan celebration at the University of Antique. Along with them are UA President Dr. Victor Navarra, Vice Governor Edgar Denosta and UA Complementary Food Project Manager Dr. Marie Ann J. Reymaro. (Photo by: DOSTVI-GMLegislador)

DOST Region VI has developed the Nutri-Kart in order to address malnutrition, particularly in kindergarten, elementary and secondary schools. DOST VI Regional Director Rowen Gelonga expressed, “The Nutri-Kart is a movable food stall which will sell nutritious food and snacks. It will particularly promote the nutritious food products developed by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI) as well as by the academe and other research institutions.”

Equally important, the Nutri Kart sells different products of the university based on the rice-mongo-sesame blends developed by DOST-FNRI. It also sells products of DOST Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP) clients who produce healthier alternatives to junk foods and heavily processed food items. “I have come to realize that sometimes our feeding programs are not focused towards addressing malnutrition. Sometimes, we fail to realize that we are just addressing hunger, and hunger and malnutrition are two different things. If hunger was addressed, it does not mean that the child is already healthy. Therefore, malnutrition should have a science and technology-based component.”

Director Gelonga added that the Nuri Kart offers healthier choices not only for children but also for adults. “Through this, we hope that malnutrition will be minimized, if not eradicated in the country.”

In the 2015 Updating of Nutritional Status, DOST-FNRI revealed that problems in malnutrition affect all regions of the country as well as all age brackets. This malnutrition comes in the form of underweight, stunting and wasting.

Among children 5-10 years old, 31.2% are underweight, 31.1% are stunted and 8.4% are stunted. For children 10-19 years old, 31.9% are stunted and 12.5% are wasted.

In the case of Filipino adults, a different form of malnutrition has emerged as 31.1% of Filipino men and women are considered to be either overweight or obese. (DOST VI-KMU)