The NNC Technical Committee has approved, through ad referendum, the theme for this year’s Nutrition Month celebration in July which is
sa tamang nutrisyon at ehersisyo!”
Assistant Secretary of Health and NNC Executive Director Maria-Bernardita T. Flores explained that this year’s Nutrition Month will focus on overweight and obesity. The 2015 Nutrition Month campaign aims to increase awareness on the role and importance of proper nutrition and physical activity in the prevention of overweight and obesity among the general public. It also aims to encourage Filipinos to make positive decisions towards consumption of healthy diets and be physically active to prevent non-communicable diseases as a result of overweight and obesity.
A/Sec. Flores further noted that more and more Filipinos, especially adults are becoming fat. Among adults 20 years old and above, the prevalence of overweight and obesity increased from 16.6% in 1993 to 31.1% in 2013. Actually, “women tend to be fatter than men with the prevalence at 34.4% for females and 27.5% for males.” Aside from the use of weight for height as a measure of obesity, the high waist circumference and high waist hip ratio among adults has also been increasing. The same trend was noted among preschoolers and school-aged children. Currently, overweight and obesity prevalence among children is at 5% while among teenagers it is at 8.3%. Analysis of the 2013 national nutrition survey results showed that children who belong to wealthier families tend to be more overweight and obese than those coming from poorer households. While these figures are a cause for concern, it is to be noted that undernutrition (underweight, stunting and wasting) is also a major problem. Thus, the country is faced with the so-called double burden of malnutrition. Overweight and obesity is also a risk factor to non-communicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
The key strategies to address overweight and obesity include adoption of healthy diets and physical activity. However, for people to practice healthy diets and have regular physical activity, an enabling environment is needed which include informed consumers on the nutritional values of the food they are eating, availability of nutritious foods especially outside the homes, and a physical environment that promotes exercise.
The NNC encourages all sectors to plan and celebrate Nutrition Month campaign in July along this theme. The NNC shall coordinate with national and local governments, non-government organizations, private sector, media, the academe, and other stakeholders to increase awareness about the prevention and management of overweight and obesity through proper nutrition and physical activity among Filipinos.