deficiency among pregnant women and babies
By Philippine Information
February 25, 2013
TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte – Four
out of ten pregnant Filipino women are suffering from iron deficiency
anemia (IDA), the result of the National Nutrition Survey (NNS) by the
Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and
Technology (FNRI-DOST), showed.
Based on the criteria set by
the World Health Organization (WHO), the prevalence of IDA among
pregnant women in the Philippines is of significant public health
problem, said Ms. Czarina Teresita S. Martinez of the FNRI-DOST S&T
According to the FNRI-DOST,
the best method of combating iron deficiency in pregnancy is to
promote high intakes of available iron by women of reproductive age so
that she enters pregnancy with adequate iron stores.
The FNRI-DOST said that iron
is present in both animal and plant origins. Liver and glanular organs
are the richest sources of iron while meat, fish and poultry are the
other good animal sources of iron.
Iron-rich plant foods are
the legumes family, green leafy vegetables such as gamet (seaweeds),
kulitis (Spineless amaranth), dahon ng malunggay (horse raddish
leaves), kangkong (swamp cabbage), dahon ng gabi (taro leaves), dahon
ng kinchay (Chinese Celery leaves), dahon ng saluyot (jute leaves),
talbos ng kamote (sweet potato leaves), and some dried fruits like
IDA could also be avoided by
consuming foods that may help in increase iron absorption and
metabolism like vitamin A, Vitamin C, and riboflavin that are abundant
in fruits and vegetables.
The Department of Health (DOH)
is advocating the consumption of foods with the Sangkap Pinoy Seal;
that include iron fortified foods. The FNRI-DOST develops fortified
food products including iron fortified foods that will help increase
the consumption of iron.
Ms. Martinez quoted Dr.
Helen A. Guthrie, Professor of Nutrition at the Pennsylvania State
University, who said that a woman who has been well-nourished prior to
conception enters pregnancy with a reserve of several nutrients that
can meet the needs of the growing fetus without jeopardizing her
During pregnancy, the body
conserves iron since menstruation ceases and iron absorption increases
three folds. The blood protein responsible for iron absorption
However, iron stores may
decrease during pregnancy because iron needs also increase. On the
last trimester of pregnancy, much of the available iron and maternal
iron stores are taken up by the fetus to create its own iron stores
for the first three to six months of life.