NUTRITION NEWS: Go4Health drive to control the prevalence of lifestyle ailments: DOH

Health officials said there is a need for Filipinos to practice healthy living as deaths due to so-called lifestyle ailments such as cardiovascular diseases, cancern, respiratory diseases, and diabetes have risen to an alarming rate.

Non-communicable diseases reportedly have claimed more than 36 million lives worldwide annually and it is estimated that at this rate, people who are born today may die before they reach 60 years of age.

To address this problem, the DOH spearheaded the Pilipinas Go4Health movement last year to inform and encourage Filipinos to practice a healthy lifestyle by making a personal commitment to physical activity (Go Sigla), proper nutrition (Go Sustansya), prevention or cessation of smoking (Go Smoke-free) and alcohol consumption (Go Slow sa Tagay).

Department of Health Secretary Enrique Ona said healthy lifestyle is a choice and that if a person loves his family and value his workspace and community, he must support the movement.

In Region 1, Dr. Myrna C. Cabotaje, DOH Director, said the campaign is also part of providing a universal health care to the public even as she added that the DOH believes that every Filipino has the right to a healthy family, community and country.

Based on studies and surveys by the DOH, WHO, and FNRI, an estimated 10 Filipinos die every hour due to first- and second-hand smoking.

Based on the 2009 Global Audit Tobacco Survey, 17.3 million Filipinos aged 15 and older are tobacco smokers.

Smoking is directly linked to lung cancer, emphysema and bronchial disorders.

Health officials say that consumption of salt, sugar, fats, and high calorie food should be reduced to prevent hypertension and cardiovascular diseases, and obesity while there should be an increased intake of fiber, such as fruits and whole grains to lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

A study by the Food and Nutrition Institute (FNRI) showed that only 7 out of 100 Filipino adults exercise three to four times a week although according to a health official, “the human body is designed for motion.”

About 22.3 percent of adult Filipinos are overweight.

Excessive alchohol consumption on the other hand can lead to drunk-driving accidents.

It has been reported that 34 percent of 15-19-year olds are already alcohol drinkers.

In Region 1, Dr. Myrna C. Cabotaje, DOH Director said that every Filipino has the right to a healthy family, community and country; but that a healthy habit is not easily achieved without the individual’s personal commitment to achieve it.

“A healthy lifestyle is not a goal but a way of living,” she added.#