Nutrition is a dynamic science as it has a close interlinking relationship between food, education, and nutrition. With proper nutrition, healthy children learn better. The World Health Organization (WHO) asserts that people with adequate nutrition are more productive and can create opportunities to gradually break the cycles of poverty and hunger.
July has always been the designated month to commemorate the annual National Nutrition Month celebration as per Presidential Decree (PD) No. 491, declaring nutrition as a priority to be implemented by all branches of the government of the Philippines in an integrated fashion affirmed by the late President Ferdinand Marcos.
The approval of PD 491 made the celebration of Nutrition Month (NM) an institutionalized activity spearheaded by the National Nutrition Council together with its partners from the line agencies, Local Government Units (LGUs) and other stakeholders in creating greater awareness among the Filipino people on the importance of nutrition.
How is Nutrition Month being celebrated?
Each year, the celebration is guided by a theme formulated by the National Nutrition Council Governing Board thru its technical committee that focuses on the existing nutritional problems and other contributing factors at the identified at the present year.
Over the years, the focus of the celebration spiraled on several themes since 1973 then up to recently: healthy lifestyle (2017), food gardening (2018), healthy eating with physical activity (2019), support on the First 1000 Days (2020-2021) and building resiliency in achieving good nutrition (2022), respectively.
As part of the celebration, the National Nutrition Council Region 1 conducts series of activities that involve the participation of different population groups such as students, women of reproductive-age, families, government and private workers to bring massive advocacy and expanding multi-sectoral engagements to scale-up nutrition interventions.
Lately, proper nutrition became visible to the public eye due to the gnawing threats of the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the key messages of the 2022 NM theme highlighted that good nutrition is key to building immunity, protecting against illness and infection, and supporting recovery which entails producing efforts to preserve and promote proper nutrition in building pandemic resilience strategies.
On a side note, it is sad to see that most people only acknowledge the occasion when July drops in the calendar, but nutrition advocates would like to emphasize that celebrating nutrition and expecting better nutritional outcomes by the end of every July cannot be accomplished within a month’s time alone. It would take several years to actually see significant change through continued and consistent application of what each of the NM themes were designed for annually.
In conclusion, nutrition festivities can be used as a platform to remind oneself on the importance of proper nutrition. Agencies and LGUs can implement activities in a month through the programs prepared for the same cause, but the idea of choosing nutrition as everyone’s priority should be practiced for a lifetime.
Development Management Officer II - Wylibeth Lumpias