FNRI: improving Pinoy’s health and nutrition through accurate data PDF Print E-mail

The measure of the nutritional status of the population is a valuable and relevant indicator of the quality of life of the people. The Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST), in its role as the research arm of the Philippine Plan of Action on Nutrition (PPAN), has for its function the accurate evaluation of the food and nutrition situation of the Philippines and the nutritional status of the population.

            The FNRI conducts nutrition surveys in the country to pursue this goal. The first pilot survey was conducted in 1957. From 1958 to 1969, regional surveys were conducted covering nine out of the ten regions of the country. These regional surveys provided baseline data on the nutritional status of the regions. The survey had three phases that were simultaneously undertaken during the data collection. The dietary phase evaluated food intake of sample households. The clinical phase examined the sample population for signs and symptoms of malnutrition. The biochemical phase analyzed blood and urine samples to detect nutrient deficiencies before clinical symptoms are manifested.

In 1973, the FNRI undertook a pilot survey which included data on migration, fertility, income and food prices and a disaggregated urban and rural data. The survey was conducted in cooperation with the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) through the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

           The results stimulated awareness among planners, policymakers, program implementers and nutrition experts from the government and private sectors and even among international agencies on the importance of accurate data on food and nutritional status at the national level for one reference year. In response to this demand, the first National Nutrition Survey of the Philippines was conducted in 1978. This was a comprehensive survey that included the three phases.

           In 1979, the Statistical Advisory Board (SAB) of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) passed Resolution No.19, Series of 1979. The resolution recognized the importance of the conduct of nutrition surveys and the need for a periodic assessment that can serve as basis for program formulation and monitoring the effects of the development plans of the government. As an important commitment to the government, the Second National Nutrition Survey was undertaken in 1982.

           The resolution in 1979 was followed by Executive Order (EO) 128 on January 30, 1987, mandating the FNRI to define the nutritional status of the Filipino citizenry periodically once every five years. The EO strengthened FNRI’s mission to pursue the conduct of the national nutrition surveys. Thus, the Third National Nutrition Survey was done in 1987 and the Fourth National Nutrition Survey in 1993.

            In 1996, EO 352 designated the nutrition surveys as among the statistical activities that will generate critical data for decision-making by the government and the private sector. The EO covered the National Nutrition Surveys and the Updating of the Nutritional Status of Filipino Children.

At the time the FNRI celebrated its golden anniversary in 2007, signifying six decades of existence, the Institute has conducted six (6) NNSs, the first in 1978, and with the others carried out every five years thereafter: 1982, 1987, 1993, 1998 and 2003. The end of the sixth decade also witnessed the conduct of the Series of Updating of the Nutritional Status of Children with the first series being undertaken in 1989, followed by 1996, 2001 and 2005.

The data and information from these national surveys had provided policymakers and development program planners an accurate picture on the nutritional status of Filipinos, as well as the food situation of rural and urban Philippines. The survey results had likewise provided needed data for policy and program recommendations of short and long term solutions to national, regional, or provincial nutrition and health problems. 

            The year 2008 ushers in a new decade of the Institute’s dedication and perseverance in building a healthy nation. In line with its mandate to define the country’s nutrition status and in fulfillment of its commitment to fight malnutrition through accurate data and correct information, the Seventh National Nutrition Survey (7th NNS), the biggest since the first nationwide survey in 1978, kicked off last May 2008.

            Using the master sample from the National Statistics Office’s First Quarter Labor Force Survey (LFS) for 2008, an estimated 6,376 households from seventeen regions and 80 provinces in the country will be covered.

            The 7th NNS consists of nine nutrition, health and economic survey components, namely: anthropometry, biochemical, clinical, dietary, economic status, food security, government program participation, and health. More than 300 competent nutritionist-dietitians, medical technologists, nurses and allied health professionals have been deployed to collect data and information pertaining to these components.

            The 7th NNS will also generate provincial estimates for the anthropometric survey. Weight, height and information on birthweight among 0-3 years old will be collected from an estimated 54,000 households

            The successful completion of the 7th NNS will update the official statistics of the country’s food, nutrition and health situation. As in the past, the survey results will serve as basis in crafting policies and programs on food, nutrition and health relevant to the times. Moreover, the data may be used as a benchmark in tracking the country’s progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The 7th NNS marks another milestone in the Institute’s accomplishments. The real challenge of ensuring well-nourished Filipinos demands that the Institute continues to persevere and commit itself to search for new avenues to achieve this goal. With hard work and faith in God, the FNRI will continue to move on to the next decade of dedicated service to the country for the betterment of the nutrition of Filipinos.

For more information on food and nutrition, write or call: Dr. Mario V. Capanzana, Director, FNRI-DOST, General Santos Avenue, Bicutan, Taguig City; Direct lines and Fax: 837-2934 and 837-3164; trunklines 837-2071 locals 2296 and 2284, 837-8113 locals 318 and 319; e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ; FNRI-DOST website: http//www.fnri.gov.ph


Copyright © 2008 FNRI-DOST. All Rights Reserved.
  Updated  July 2015
DOST Compound, Bicutan, Taguig City
Tel. Nos. (02) 837-2934/837-3164
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