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Nutrition Month 2011: Isulong ang BREASTFEEDING – Tama, Sapat at EKsklusibo! (TSEK)

posted Jul 15, 2011, 10:00 PM by Salvador Isip
source: By:Maria Conita Dd. Navarro


1.    What is Nutrition Month?

Nutrition Month is an annual event held every July in accordance with Presidential Decree No. 491 known as the Nutrition Act of the Philippines which created the National Nutrition Council (NNC).  The NNC coordinates the nationwide celebration. Each year the NNC comes up with a theme to call the nation's attention and action on a particular issue.

2.    What is the theme for the 2011 Nutrition Month?

The theme for the 2011 Nutrition Month is "Isulong ang BREASTFEEDING – Tama, Sapat, at EKsklusibo".  The theme focuses on key messages to ensure successful breastfeeding practices.  The theme supports the Department of Health's campaign  on Communication for Behavioral Impact on breastfeeding which is "Breastfeeding TSEK (Tama. Sapat. EKsklusibo)."  The objective of this year's Nutrition Month celebration is to encourage all sectors of society to help promote, protect and support correct breastfeeding practices.

3.    What does BREASTFEEDING TSEK means?

TSEK or Tama, Sapat at EKsklusibo means:

o    "Tama" by immediate skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby after birth, and initiation of breastfeeding within the first hour of life.
o    "Sapat" by encouraging and assuring mothers that little breastmilk is enough for the first week and that frequent breastfeeding ensures continuous breastmilk supply to respond to the increasing needs of the baby.
o    "EKsklusibo" by giving only breastmilk and no other liquid to the baby for the first six months.  Breastmilk has all the water and nutrients that the baby needs for the first six months after which the baby should be given appropriate complementary foods while continuing breastfeeding.

4.    What is the importance of BREASTFEEDING TSEK?

The protection, promotion, and support of breastfeeding rank among the most effective interventions to improve child's survival.  According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is estimated that high coverage of optimal breastfeeding practices could avert 13% of the 10.6 million yearly deaths of children five years old and below.  Evidence on the importance of exclusive breastfeeding and early initiation includes:

  • Babies who were not breastfed in the first 6 months of their lives are 25 times more likely to die than those who experienced exclusive breastfeeding from the time they were born.
  • The timing of initiation of breastfeeding is important as there is a higher risk of death among infants with longer delay in the initiation of breastfeeding.
  • Hospitalized low birth weight Infants who were fed with formula milk had 4 times the incidence of serious illness compared to those infants who were breastfed.
  • There is a 2-4 fold increase in neonatal mortality rate (NMR) in not receiving colostrum.  There is a 5-13% decrease in NMR with exclusive breastfeeding.
  • Breastfeeding not only saves babies from death, but also provides long-term benefits.  Breastfed babies do better in school cognitive tests by as much as 4.9 points.  There is a positive association of breastfeeding with educational attainment.