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WOD 2022Members of the Ad Hoc Group on Obesity and Resource persons during the 2022 World Obesity Webinar

About 27 million Filipinos across all age groups are living with overweight and obesity, and this accounts for about a third of the population. Overweight and obesity is one of the major public health and nutritional problems of the country. Its ballooning trend calls for collective and strategic actions to transform the obesogenic environment into a health-promoting that supports the physical, mental, and social well-being of every Filipino.

The government leads in addressing overnutrition through health promotion and disease prevention approaches in various settings including schools, communities, and workplaces. The Department of Health (DOH) in collaboration with key government agencies and stakeholders are implementing evidence-based strategies including the issuance of guidelines on the conduct of health-enhancing physical activities and sports during the Covid-19 pandemic, national policy on the elimination of industrially-produced trans-fatty acids, continuously work on promotion and creating safe and active transport as well as institutionalizing karinderyas as nutrition service providers for supplemental feeding services for malnutrition.

In response to addressing the unhealthy food environment, the National Nutrition Council Governing Board approved the adoption of the Philippine Nutrient Profile Model in January 2022 to serve as a tool in classifying food products as healthy or not, particularly for children. It will be a basis to develop policy or legislation to restrict the marketing of food and beverages to children that exceed the thresholds of specific nutrients including total fats, saturated fat, TFA, sodium, total sugars, and energy. Lastly, the model can be used as a guide for food manufacturers in reformulating their existing products and providing healthier food options to consumers, in nutrition labelling, and in updating the standards of Department of Education policy in regulating the marketing of unhealthy food and beverages in schools.

The NNC Governing Board is set to deliberate the approval and adoption of the National Policy in Addressing Obesity. The policy is jointly developed by members of the Ad Hoc group on Obesity composed of the DOH, NNC, Nutrition Center of the Philippines, Philippine Association for the Study of Overweight and Obesity (PASOO), World Health Organization Philippines, and UNICEF. An operational plan will be developed to implement the policy which will also become an input to the next cycle of the Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition for 2023 - 2028.

The aforementioned measures were highlighted during the 2nd webinar on World Obesity Day held on 4 March organized by the Ad Hoc Group on obesity led by DOH and NNC. The webinar, adopting the global theme “Everybody needs to act” was attended by more than 500 participants from national government agencies, local government units, professional organizations, academe, civil society organizations, community health and nutrition workers, and volunteers and development partners who attended via Zoom and Facebook live stream.

For those who are interested to watch the replay of the webinar, please access through this link: https://www.facebook.com/nncofficial/videos/641438600261545

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