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About five in every 10 or (52.3 percent) of infants aged 0-5 months were exclusively breastfed, according to the 2013 National Nutrition Survey (NNS). This was an increase from 46.7 percent in the 2011 survey. The NNS is done by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) every five years.

This was reported during the National Breastfeeding Month culmination activity of the Department of Health by Dr. Cecilia Cristina Acuin, Chief Science Research Specialist of the Nutritional Assessment Management Division of FNRI. The event was held on August 26, 2014.
The Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) component of the 2013 NNS also revealed that 77.1 percent of infants were breastfed within an hour after delivery.

 The duration of exclusive breastfeeding was also longer with an average of 4.1 months in 2013 compared to 3.7 months in 2011 and 2.3 months in 2008.

Practice of exclusive breastfeeding was inversely related with wealth. The highest percentage reported from the poorest group in the rural areas was 69.8 percent while the lowest percentage was from the richest segment in the rural areas at 28.7%. On average, breastfeeding was continued up to 8.2 months in 2013 compared to 7.7 months in 2011.

The results also showed that most children (65.8 percent) were introduced to solid, semi-solid and soft foods at 6 months. However, only 4.6 percent of infants 6-11 months met the minimum
dietary diversity score (DDS) which is four. The DDS is the number of food groups consumed. For children12-17 months old and 18-23 months old, only 16.9 percent and 25.2 percent met the minimum DDS, respectively.

Message Number 2 of the 2012 Nutritional Guidelines for Filipinos (NGF) recommends exclusive breastfeeding of infants from birth up to 6 months. The message adds the giving of appropriate complementary foods while continuing breastfeeding of children aged 2 years and beyond for optimum growth and development.

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