This year’s Nutrition Month celebration is anchored on the theme: “Healthy diet, gawing habit – FOR LIFE!”
This year’s celebration is aimed to increase public awareness on good nutrition practices to achieve a healthy and productive populace.
So why do we need to make healthy diet a habit?
- A healthy diet is the foundation of good health. Poor and unhealthy diet makes us susceptible to under- and overnutrition and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. NCDs, also called lifestyle-related diseases, remain as the top causes of death in the Philippines that affect children, adults and older persons.
- Ensuring the maximum growth and development potential of a child is crucial in the first 1000 days of life which starts from pregnancy up to the child’s 2nd birthday. Good maternal health, breastfeeding and complementary feeding strengthen infants and young children’s long-term health and immunity from NCDs and obesity. Exclusive breastfeeding during the first 6 months is sufficient to provide the nutrient needs of the child for growth and development. From 6 months onward, complementary feeding, together with breastfeeding, keep up with the child’s growing nutrient needs. These practices are globally accepted as a good investment to a child’s future.
- Filipinos are not consuming healthy diets. According to the 2013 National Nutrition Survey (NNS) of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute-DOST, only 35% of Filipino households meet their required nutrient and energy levels. Not meeting the energy requirements disrupts the metabolic processes, physiological functions and well-being of an individual. With a healthy diet, daily energy and nutritional needs can be satisfied and thus, optimal health is ensured.
- According to the 2013 National Nutrition Survey, 3 out of 10 Filipino adults are obese. Meanwhile, the prevalence of overweight among Filipino children is 5% in ages zero to five years old and 9.1% in ages five to ten years old. Overweight and obesity are considered risk factors to developing NCDs. Overweight and obesity can be addressed by making healthy diet a life-long habit.
- Increased availability of highly processed foods and reduced access to fresh fruits and vegetables all the more makes healthy diet a conscious effort. This does not only mean making healthy food choices. For those in the food industry, this entails making available healthier foods through reformulation of products that are low in fat, sodium and sugar.
We need to make healthy diet a daily habit not only when we celebrate Nutrition Month in July but throughout the whole year. Let us start the healthy habit now and do it for life. (Source: FNRI)