By: Lilibeth A. French
THE regional launching of the Nutrition Month celebration in Iloilo on July 1, 2019 gathered health, nutrition and education top officials of Western Visayas.
The event held at Mandurriao National High School (MNHS) in Iloilo City was attended by Department of Health (DOH)-6 Regional Director and Regional Nutrition Committee (RNC)-6 Chairperson Dr.Marlyn W. Convocar, National Nutrition Council (NNC)-6 Regional Nutrition Program Coordinator Nona B. Tad-y and Iloilo City Office of the Schools Division Superintendent OIC and Assistant Schools Division Superintendent Dr. Clarissa G. Zamora.
In her message, Convocar underscored the importance of a healthy diet and increasing physical activities to prevent non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, kidney diseases, and hypertension.
She told students that these two healthy habits and limiting sedentary behaviors such as phone and gadget activities are also the focus of this year’s Nutrition Month celebration with the theme “Kumainnangtama at maging aktibo`….push natin ‘to!.”
Convocar reminded students that they are in the prime of their life that they have to eat the right diet and avoid intake of junk food and sweetened beverages which are high in salt and sugar that will affect their health.
She urged schools to ensure that no junk foods and sweetened beverages are sold so that children will learn to eat healthily and the right foods. They should also allot even at least an hour, three times a week, for the physical activity of their students.
Tad-y, in her presentation, bared that the recent expanded nutrition survey conducted by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) showed that the number of insufficiently physically active adolescent Filipinos is increasing.
This means that as adolescent Filipinos, both male and female, grow older they also become inactive, according to Tad-y.
She further revealed that the prevalence of overweight and obesity increased among Filipino adolescents from 2003 to 2018 at 11.6 percent.
“This is alarming because of the problem of non-communicable diseases occurring henceforth,” said Tad-y.
The recent FNRI study also showed that anemia is still a problem especially among females from 2013 to 2018.
“This is the reason why we are advocating for healthy diet particularly rich in iron”, added Tad-y.
On her part, Zamora said nutrition should be integrated into people’s day-to-day lives.
“The span of our lives will depend on the food we take, among other factors. We must consider good nutrition when we take our daily meals,” said Zamora.
She thanked the government for giving importance to nutrition as she emphasized that a country cannot move forward if its people are sickly and weak.
“We can be very good learners if we include good nutrition in our mindset from day to day. Teachers and health workers must be models in so far as good nutrition is concerned,” said Zamora.
She encouraged students to have a new school year’s resolution which must include taking into consideration good nutrition in their meals.
Zamora also cited officials, teachers and students of MNHS for hosting the regional launching of the 2019 Nutrition Month celebration for Western Visayas.
Tad-y said MNHS is at risk to double-burden of malnutrition with undernutrition since a considerable number of underweight/wasted students from Calajunan are recipients of a feeding program and also, overnutrition.
She said Mandurriao is also a fast-growing district with the proliferation of fast food chains and other establishments accessible to students which bring concerns on changing lifestyles and food habits.
Aside from the program, a Nutri-Visit event was conducted composed of various nutrition-related activities to instill to students the value of a healthy diet and physical activity with other member agencies of the RNC 6.
Assessment of the nutritional status of identified students where their weight and height were measured, blood pressure check-up and distribution of Weekly Iron Folic Acid and deworming tablets were done in coordination with the Department of Education.
Students also learned PinggangPinoy, a food guide that uses a familiar food plate model to help Filipinos adopt healthy eating habits at meal times with dietary and healthy lifestyle messages, from a representative from DOST.
They, too, participated in Zumba exercises led by the MAPEH and TLE teachers of MNHS and learned yoga poses and their benefits from Ravi Cambronero, a yoga instructor.
Vegetables and fruit trees seedlings from the Department of Agriculture were also distributed.
Some one thousand fans on 10 Kumainments, another nutritional guideline for Filipinos that encourage a healthy lifestyle, were given to participants as part of NNC’s advocacy and promotion of good nutrition.
Pursuant to Presidential Decree 491 of 1974, the month of July is declared as Nutrition Month for the purpose of creating greater awareness among Filipinos on the importance of nutrition.
It also mandates the NNC to take the lead and coordinate activities of the Nutrition Month nationwide campaign. (PIA)