Policy guide for nut serviceCebu City – Almost a year into the COVID-19 pandemic and the question on what could be done to safeguard the community against the virus while still ensuring that their nutritional status is kept healthy remains a cloud hanging over local nutrition workers’ heads.

Before we give up on providing nutrition services altogether, the National Nutrition Council (NNC) has finally released the NNC Memorandum 2020-010 entitled “Interim Guidelines in the Conduct (of) OPT Plus, Nutrition Screening, Growth Monitoring and Promotion Activities in the Context of COVID-19 Pandemic and other related disasters”.

It is a guide to help local nutrition workers continue providing basic nutrition services especially on close contact activities such as OPT Plus and child growth monitoring.

That said, NNC Region VII has conducted an online forum for frontline workers to talk about said interim guidelines (read more about it here) on 08 January 2020. If you were not able to catch the online forum, you could still watch the playback here.

Among the most clamored upon resources that frontline workers wanted were the policies and guidelines mentioned during the forum as well as other policies that might be helpful in the OPT Plus and GMP activities.

So we decided to come up with a short guide for all of the policies related to child growth monitoring in the country to help you out.

First up, the memo has mentioned several policies/guidelines that has been used as foundation for its completion. These could also be used as basis for local nutrition committee’s service protocols:

  • DOH Department Circular 2020-0167 “Continuous Provision of Essential Health Services during the COVID-19 Epidemic” - discusses the importance of continuing essential health services, including “management of malnutrition and micronutrient supplementation”, during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Online Forum for OPTCebu City – Highly anticipated by the nutrition service workers since the breakout of the pandemic last year, the interim guidelines for the conduct of Operation Timbang Plus (OPT Plus), Nutrition Screening, Growth Monitoring and Promotion Activities in the Context of COVID-19 Pandemic and Other Related Disasters has finally been released by the National Nutrition Council (NNC) and to help disseminate said guidelines, NNC R7 conducts an online forum on 08 January 2020.

Said online forum aimed not just to spread information about the guidelines but to answer queries to that nutrition workers may have about growth monitoring and promotion amid the pandemic.

The forum has gathered 11,201 reaches with 977 engagement for the online activity.

100573572 578348726151924 1355433533350346752 nCebu City, Nancy Cudis Ucag, MIND 7 VP for Social Media - One way to encourage mothers to breastfeed their infants is to create pockets of spaces outfitted for such an important nutritional activity, where they can safely do so. These spaces are called lactation stations. They play a vital role in promoting breastfeeding.

In the Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2009, lactation stations are defined as “private, clean, sanitary, and well-ventilated rooms or areas in the workplace or public places where nursing mothers can wash up, breastfeed or express their milk comfortably and store this afterward.”

The same law mandates all health and non-health facilities, establishments, or institutions to set up lactation stations in their workplaces. These stations, which should not be located in the toilet and should be free from any form of contamination like chemicals and other sources of infection, must be essentially equipped with:

  • lavatory for hand washing (unless there is an easily accessible lavatory nearby)
  • refrigeration or appropriate cooling facilities for storing expressed breastmilk
  • electrical outlets for breast pumps
  • a small table
  • comfortable seats

At the same time, lactation stations should not have any direct or indirect form of promotion, marketing, and/or sales of infant formula and/or breastmilk substitutes.

The use of a lactation station is associated with a longer duration of breastfeeding until six months, according to the results of a 2017 study titled Utilization of Lactation Station and Lactation Breaks and Its Association With the Duration of Breastfeeding Among Filipino Mothers With Children Aged 0-23 Months by Mildred L. Ocampo-Guirindola, Ma. Lynell M. Valdeabella-Maniego, and Keren Faye M. Gaya.

The same study also shows that “children with mothers who utilized lactation station and lactation break had a higher proportion of exclusive breastfeeding and continued breastfeeding both at 1 year or at 2 years.”

Healthy Lifestyle Part 2Ms. Franz Cassandra Ontina, NDDP, Bohol Province – With 2021 at our doorsteps and with so many possibilities and new beginnings for a hopefully healthier and safer year, the National Nutrition Council Region VII has published a quick guide to help you out in achieving a healthy lifestyle in the COVID-19 “new normal”.

If you have not read part one of this two-way series, we suggest you pay the first article a visit to really get into the context of this new normal healthy lifestyle. If you have, then, by all means, we continue with the second half of this list...


  • INCREASE water intake

Your body contains primarily water. Water can help you flush away the toxins in the blood. Hydration is vital in maintaining normal brain function and energy levels and keep every part of your body running aside from preventing you from heatstroke. Drink 8-10 glasses of water daily. Bring a reusable water container with you to stay hydrated while on the go!

  • Maintain GOOD hygiene

According to the Center for Disease Control, you can help reduce your risk of getting infectious diseases by washing your hands often with soap and water.  Wash hands for 20 seconds, and help young children do the same. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Viruses that cause infections can live on your hands, and regular handwashing can help protect you from getting sick. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Viruses can enter your body this way and make you sick.

How often exerciseCebu City, Nancy Cudis Ucag, MIND 7 VP for Social Media - Last week, we published an article to guide beginners into the world of exercise and a healthy lifestyle. Did you know that your age plays a large role in the effectiveness and safety of your physical activities? 

Here's what the PHILIPPINE NATIONAL GUIDELINES ON PHYSICAL ACTIVITY (PNGPA) developed by experts from the World Health Organization, Department of Health, University of the Philippines-College of Human Kinetics, and Strength and Conditioning Inc. and released to the public in 2010 prescribes per age bracket: 

CHILDREN (5 - 12 years old) - At least 60 minutes of daily physical activities consisting of any one or a combination of these physical activities: active travel (ex. stair climbing) and active daily tasks (fetching water in a pail); programmed physical activity for 20-30 minutes daily (exercise, dance, or sports); and high-impact play or unstructured spontaneous play (patintero)

ADOLESCENTS TO YOUNG ADULTS (13 - 20 years old) - At least 60 minutes of daily physical activities consisting of any one or a combination of these physical activities: active travel (ex. cycling) and active daily tasks (mopping floors); at least 40 minutes of programmed physical activities (exercise, dance, or sports); and at least 20 minutes of sustained moderate to vigorous physical activities (jogging)

ADULTS (21 - 45 years old) - 30-60 minutes of daily physical activity consisting of any one or a combination of these physical activities: active travel (ex. stair climbing) and active daily tasks (cleaning rooms); moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity (exercise, dance and recreational activities like dancing); muscle strengthening and flexibility activities; and activities in the workplace (two-minute physical activities like stretching for every hour of sitting)

New Normal Lifestyle part1

Ms. Franz Cassandra Ontina, NDDP, Bohol Province – As months pile up and the COVID-19 pandemic still remains a threat, people have no choice but to make lifestyle adaptions to deal with it and health is of top priority. 

According to NPC Dr. Parolita A. Mission, with the new strain of the virus, which experts fear is more contagious, we should be more vigilant. Mission encourages the public not to lower their guards, increase your immune system, and take measures to prevent and reduce the risk of virus.

Other than following health protocols of wearing face masks and face shields, social distancing, and maintaining personal hygiene, it is imperative to make sure that your body is at its best to fight off infections and the most practical way is to take care of yourself is to have better nutrition.

The National Nutrition Council has prepared a two-part article to really guide you into that healthy lifestyle this new year!

  • RIGHT food choices

We always worry about the food we set on our table for our family to eat but forget about what we should pack for food. Remember that no single food can provide all the nutrients in the amounts needed. Eat a variety of foods, which includes fruits and vegetables, and the macronutrients such as carbohydrates, protein, and fats to provide all the nutrients required in the proper amount and balance. Carbohydrate is an essential macronutrient we need to produce energy and energy keeps us going. It’s important to include this in our diet. Choose fiber-rich carbs and avoid sugary carbs. Protein is a macronutrient that is essential in the body’s growth and maintenance, also in strengthening immune health. We are in a health emergency crisis, not a natural disaster, avoid consuming canned goods for they are high in salt content which can cause our blood pressure to rise. Fat is an essential part of our diet and is important for good health, good fats can help lower the risk for heart disease and stroke. Examples are avocados, nuts, and fatty fish.