NUTRITION CORNER: RP nutritional guidelines evaluated

The Nutritional Guidelines for Filipinos are actually primary recommendations of messages aimed to promote good health through proper nutrition. One of the messages is to “eat a variety of foods everyday.”

A study on the knowledge, attitude and practices on the five basic and refuted messages of the 1990 edition of the Philippine Nutrition Guidelines (PNG) showed generally positive attitudes towards the concept of eating variety of foods and other related messages.

In terms of practice, the mothers specifically were observed to be particular about practical tips in meal planning and management. They put emphasis on food combinations in their daily meals, the most common being rice, “ulam” (usually fish) and vegetables. They identified family budgets, however, as a majority determinant of foods served on the table.

Children believed that fruits and vegetables are essential to their daily meals, though they do not eat them regularly. Likewise, they perceived that milk is good for the health. However, milk drinking was not a popular practice among them.

The overall results of the study pointed to the need for more meaningful and sustainable nutrition education interventions. For one, a vigorous and consistent nutrition education campaign may be launched. Emphasis should be done on the following: clarification of the functions of foods; nutritional   problems, causes and effects; food labeling; and the “Sangkap Pinoy” thrusts.

Classroom lectures and experiences, likewise, remain desirable interventions to promote good nutrition and the practice of certain habits (e.g. brushing the teeth after eating) among children. Moreover, counseling in mothers’ classes may have to be intensified to effect desired attitude to some messages.#