Primary and secondary schools all over the Philippines will be observing the National Nutrition Month or “Buwan ng Nutrisyon” next month. According to the National Nutrition Council (NNC), the theme for this year’s celebration is “Timbang iwasto sa tamang nutrisyon at ehersisyo” (Proper weight through right nutrition and exercise).
In a statement, Assistant Secretary of Health and NNC Executive Director Maria-Bernardita T. Flores said that this theme emphasizes the problem of obesity among Filipinos. She noted that among adults 20 years old and above, the prevalence of overweight and obese Filipinos increased from 16.6% in 1993 to 31.1% in 2013.
This year’s nutrition month has two main objectives:
1) 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.
2) 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
NNC stressed that obesity is a major risk factor to non-communicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. The agency added that despite the rising number of obese Filipinos, undernutrition (underweight, stunting and wasting) remains a lingering problem as well. “Thus, the country is faced with the so-called double burden of malnutrition,” the agency said.
The national nutrition month is celebrated every July as mandated by Presidential Decree 491, the same law that became the basis for the creation of the NNC in 1974. It must be noted that during that time, then-President Ferdinand Marcos had both executive and legislative powers.
(Update, June 23) In connection to this, the Department of Education has released Memorandum #62 (s. 2015) which serves as a guide on the activities to be organized by schools during this month-long celebration.