The study aimed to analyze the nutritional status of Filipino children ages 0–60 months (0–5.0 years old) and 61–120 months (5.08–10.0 years old) in households headed by fisherfolks.
The 8th National Nutrition Survey (NNS) data collected by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute, Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST) was used in the study. There were 13,423 young children and 16,398 schoolchildren participants for anthropometry component. The World Health Organization Child Growth Standards (WHO-CGS) was used to assess the nutritional status of the young children while the WHO Growth Reference 2007 was used for schoolchildren. Occupational groups were categorized based on the 1992 Philippine Standard Occupational Classification (PSOC). Descriptive statistics were used for the profiling of the different variables while bivariate analysis, logistic regression and odds ratios were used to correlate the different variables to the nutrition status of the children. Data were analyzed using Stata 12.0.
Results showed that households headed by fisherfolks (HHF) were one of the occupational groups with highest malnutrition among young and school-aged children. The HHF had higher prevalence of malnutrition among young children compared to the overall prevalence of malnutrition among young children in the Philippines, except for overweight. This is also true for schoolchildren, except for wasting. Age of child, sex, household size, age, fishermen and farmer as household head and type of toilet (water-sealed) were correlated to stunting, underweight, overweight and obesity among children.
The high prevalence of stunting, underweight and wasting among young and schoolchildren in this occupational group poses immediate and serious nutrition intervention strategies such as health and nutrition information, health care, sanitation and hygiene, and physical activities. A national policy on the health, nutrition and welfare of households headed by fisherfolks and their children is highly recommended.