Common Ailments of Gradeschoolers

By Rimando, Tony Pe. | Manila Bulletin, October 18, 2000 | Go to article overview
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Common Ailments of Gradeschoolers

Rimando, Tony Pe., Manila Bulletin

MAJORITY of public grade school children are afflicted with various forms of ailments and malnutrition which usually adversely affect their academic performance.

A Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS) study showed that parasitic or helminthiases infection is most prevalent among public elementary school children, especially those in rural communities.

The study, conducted by the DECS health and nutrition center (HNC), revealed, for instance, that in Cebu and Benguet, 90 and 100 percent of the pupils have parasitic infection, respectively.

Dr. Adelfo Trinidad, HNC executive director, said helminthiases infection affects the children's health, nutritional status and cognitive development.

Specifically, Trinidad said, it causes impaired growth retardation, abnormal obstruction, chronic colitis, iron deficiency anemia and fatigue.

Many pupils also suffer from protein-energy malnutrition (PEM), Trinidad said.

Trinidad reported that a Food and Nutrition Research Institute recent survey indicated that due largely to PEM, 32 percent of grade school children aged 6-10 are underweight, 5.8 percent have stunted growth, and 90 percent have actual weight loss.

Moreover, not a few pupils suffer from Vitamin A Deficiency (VAD) which causes poor vision or, in severe cases, even blindness, Trinidad said, adding that VAD is associated with acute respiratory infection, diarrhea and severity of measles.

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