LEGAZPI CITY, July 23 - Mothers who are at least four months pregnant will be on stage in Naga City this weekend as local organizers of a beauty pageant searches for the most beautiful of them all.
This rare contest of glamour, brains, good grooming and proper body handling among women heavy with child is one of the highlights during the ongoing observance of Nutrition Month in the city, Arlene Reario, the National Nutrition Council (NCC) program coordinator for Bicol said here on Monday.
Sans the traditional swim suit competition in beauty contests, the search dubbed Gandang Preggy Nanay (Pregnant Mother Beauty) will present at least 15 local entries who have earlier signed up to hit the ramp in their casual, formal and evening gown suits. They are four to nine-month pregnant.
They will also show their stage talents during the Saturday coronation night program to be held at the covered court of Barangay Concepcion Grande, Naga City. Judges will also measure the contestants level of intelligence in a question and answer portion of the program.
The competition will not be different from the usual beauty pageants we are witnessing during fiestas and other special occasions or even the national or international searches for beauty queens, only that the display of body curves is not included as there will be no swim suit portion, Reario said.
It aims to heighten the awareness of mothers in good grooming, proper body care, right diet and physical fitness while they are in the family way, she explained.
It is very vital that mothers know the importance of providing attention to their own health, hygiene and physical and mental fitness especially when they are pregnant because they need to be strong, healthy and fit while the development of the child inside their wombs take place, according to Reario.
The contest does not only promote good grooming and beauty care but also good attitude among pregnant mothers that include proper diet by eating nutritious foods, regular pre-natal consultation and post health care check-ups, she said.
Sponsored by the Committee on Women and Children of the barangay council of Concepcion Grande and supported by the City government of Naga and the regional office for Bicol of the NCC, the winner will be crowned as the Gandang Preggy Nanay 2012.
Cash prizes, certificates and other awards are at stake. Two special awardsMrs. Friendship and Best in Talent will also be given.
The contest that is very relevant to what the observance of Nutrition Month is all about is the first of its kind in Bicol and we hope that this becomes a regular part of the yearly celebration not only in Naga City but elsewhere in the region so that attention is also focused on pregnant mothers who, more than anybody else need good nutrition for the proper development of her child, Reario said.
She explained that child malnutrition that is prevalent in Bicol oftentimes starts inside the womb when the mother is unable to be observe proper nutrition.
The 2011 study conducted by the NCC says that 14.87 percent or 116,477 of children in the region are moderately to seriously malnourished, while three percent or 3,500 of them are severely affected.
Compared to the result of the same study in 2010, last years findings show a decline of 1.11 percent in rate or 8,468 cases in the child malnutrition in Bicol.
Regional reports on Operation Timbang in 2011, according to Reario showed that among the six provinces in Bicol, Camarines Sur retained the number rank in the prevalence of underweight children with 19 percent, followed by Catanduanes with 18.3 percent; Masbate, with 16.39; Albay,14.91 percent; Sorsogon,13 percent; and Camarines Norte,12.97 percent.
For the regions seven cities, Masbate City registered the greatest rate at 14.82 percent in underweight children, followed by Ligao City in Albay with 11.55 percent; Tabaco and this city, also both in Albay with 9.79 percent and 8.41 percent respectively; Sorsogon City, 6.81 percent; Iriga City in Camarines Sur, 6.54 percent; and Naga City, also in Camarines Sur, 4.72 percent.
With this, Reario said, Bicol remains the second highest among other regions in the country in the prevalence of malnutrition among children with ages ranging from 0 to 5 years old.
We are however confident that this standing of the region will improve given the commitment aired by various local government units (LGUs) to the campaign being undertaken by the NCC to bring down local incidences of malnutrition in the coming years, she said.
These commitments, according to Reario are motivated by the intention of most LGUs to contribute in the Philippine governments desire to attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Bicol has realized a 16.0 score in MDGs attainment in 2010 with the high pace in the region of progress in the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger under Goal Number One.
Other indicators pointing to the lowering of the prevalence of malnutrition in the region include the increase in the funding support to the program by LGUs; most of the LGUs are strengthening their food production program; passage of legislative resolutions boosting local health, nutrition and agriculture production and organizing in the local levels functional nutrition committees in various LGUs.
The implementation of the Aquino administrations anti-poverty scheme, the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) is also a great contribution to the solutions to the regions malnutrition problem among children, she added. (PNA)