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How Protein Help Prevent Stunting

July 13, 2020 9:00 am

In being a macronutrient like carbohydrate and fat, protein is needed by the body in big amounts in order to meet adequate nutrition to sustain the nourishment that the body needs. However, adequacy of protein intake in the Philippines is usually lower than the daily recommendations. According to Food and Nutrition Research Institute, only 6 out of 10 households in both rural and urban setting meet the recommended protein intake suggested by the Philippine Dietary Reference Index. This resulted from inadequate intake of quality protein since most households in the lower class opt for rice and soup as their main meals since good quality protein are quite expensive compared to the staple rice.

What is protein’s role in a child’s growth and development?

Protein aids in the following:

  • Repair and build-up of torn tissues
  • Development of muscles
  • Regulation of organ structure
  • Formation of skin, hair and nails

What happens when a child does not get enough protein?

Children who don’t meet the ample amount of protein for their daily needs may face serious health issues such as:

  • Delayed growth
  • Lack of concentration
  • Poor physical performance
  • Slowed wound healing
  • Decrease in immune response

How much calcium does your child need?

0-5 months 8-9 g / day
6-11 months 15-17 g / day
1-2 years old 17-18 g / day
3-5 years old 21-22 g / day

Source: Philippine Dietary Reference Index

What are good sources of Protein?

Protein food sources can be classified as:

  • Good-quality protein also known as High Biological Value (HBV) Proteins
    • HBV has all the essential amino acids needed by the body
    • Examples are beef, pork, fish, poultry, soy, milk, cheese, eggs and yogurt
    • Since HBV contains all the essential amino acids, the body’s supply of protein is completed resulting to full functioning organs and regulatory systems.
  • Other sources of protein are known as Low Biological Value (LBV) Proteins
    • LBV misses one or more essential amino acids
    • Examples are rice, plants, legumes, grains, nuts, seeds and vegetables
    • LBV contains lower amount of protein compared to HBV since LBV are mainly carbohydrates, like fiber, in terms of their composition.

There are studies that Filipinos only meet 50% of daily recommended intake, it has been hypothesized that this is because our main protein source is rice. While in the rural areas, households utilize root crops, which are of low protein content, as their main source of food.

Complementing rice and other protein source that have low biological value with good-quality protein or HBV will help us meet the daily recommended intake of protein.

How can I ensure that my child meets his/her daily Protein needs?

It is important to be consistent in providing milk for your growing child since milk is an HBV making it a good source of protein. Consistent and proper milk feeding does not only ensure adequate protein intake, it also supply essential nutrients such as calcium and other minerals needed for proper growth and development.

Aside from milk, proper nutrition is always an essential to ensure that your children meet their daily needs. A healthy plate, as represented by Pinggang Pinoy®, composes of 33% carbohydrates from rice, breads, and other rice equivalents, 17% of protein sources like chicken, pork and beef meats, eggs, and fish, and 50% of vitamins and minerals brought by fruits and vegetables. By serving (and consuming) a complete healthy plate, you can be sure that your child gets his/her daily nutrient needs.

For picky eaters, think of fun ways to supply their protein needs. You can try giving your child Prottie® Soymilk Drink Mix . It comes with Chocolate and Caramel Flavors and it is packed with protein and calcium. For children with sensitivity to dairy products (Lactose Intolerance), Prottie® Soymilk Drink Mix is a perfect match to complement their protein and calcium needs!

You can also try these 4 protein-packed and easy-to-cook recipes with 4 common ingredients made with just 4 steps:


Stay alert, ka-Cookmunity®! Watch out for malnutrition signs and never hesitate to consult your doctors or the nearest health center. We can prevent stunting by maintaining healthy diets and lifestyle! Eat Well, Live Well. Stay Well!


Food and Nutrition Research Institute. (2018). FNRI Facts and Figures: Dietary Survey . Department of Science and Technology – Food and Nutrition Research Institute. DOST Compound, Bicutan, Taguig City.

Food and Nutrition Research Institute. (2015). Philippine Dietary Reference Index (PDRI) . Department of Science and Technology – Food and Nutrition Research Institute. DOST Compound, Bicutan, Taguig City.

Food and Nutrition Research Institute. (1997). Philippine Food Composition Tables.  Department of Science and Technology – Food and Nutrition Research Institute. DOST Compound, Bicutan, Taguig City.

Ballard, O., et al. (2013). Human Milk Composition: Nutrients and Bioactive Factors. Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Human Milk and Lactation. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH 45229.

Archdeacon, AL., et al. (2018). Generating Targetable Strategies for Improving Malnutrition Status among 2-5 years olds. Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting. Toronta, Canada.