Cabinet Secretary Karlo A. B. Nograles called on nutrition action officers to support efforts to address hunger. He made this plea in his keynote address during the opening of the virtual 6th National Conference of Nutrition Action Officers (NAOCON) on 01 October 2020 in cognizance that hunger incidence is expected to further increase with the pandemic. He shared efforts of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Zero Hunger including the development of a national food policy. He also added that there are efforts to provide funding for dietary supplementation for children 6-23 months and pregnant women, who are most vulnerable and the most critical target groups to prevent stunting.
The day after the keynote address of Cabsec Nograles, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque announced that the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has approved a resolution for the conduct of dietary supplementation program involving the distribution of cash or food packs to 6-23 months old children and nutritionally-at-risk pregnant women. CabSec Nograles co-chairs the IATF-EID.
The National Nutrition Council (NNC) launches the online Compendium of Local Ordinances on Nutrition, one of the highlights of the opening day of the online 6th National Conference of Nutrition Action Officers on 01 October 2020. The Compendium serves as a knowledge-sharing platform for local government units to learn from initiatives of other local government units who have successfully harnessed the strength of policy instruments in scaling up nutrition. The Compendium was developed in partnership with the Nutrition Officers Association of the Philippines (NAOPA), with support from Nutrition International and UNICEF Philippines.
NNC Executive Director Dr. Azucena M. Dayanghirang expressed in her message her hopes that the Compendium will be an instrument to mobilize more local governments in crafting responsive local policies towards sustained improvements in nutrition.
Dr. Dayanghirang added that “today’s launch of the Compendium is another mechanism to mobilize local government units for nutrition improvement as envisioned in the Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition. Despite and because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to push nutrition especially among local government units. LGUs are the key for our country to eliminate all forms of malnutrition.”
Nutritional requirements of the human body vary through different age groups. As we age, certain changes make it difficult for nutritional requirements to be met. Individuals aged 60 years old and above belong to the group of older adults. Some of the challenges they face when it comes to eating healthy include difficulty in chewing or swallowing food, deterioration of sense of smell or taste, effect of certain medications, decreased appetite, and lifestyle changes.
Here are some ways to overcome these age-related obstacles and provide proper nourishment to older adults:
Eat a well-balanced diet based on the Pinggang Pinoy
In order to meet their nutritional needs, older adults are encouraged to consume a healthy diet based on the Pinggang Pinoy for older persons. This food guide recommends that half of the plate should contain Glow foods which include a variety of fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber needed by the body to regulate body processes and fight infection. The other half of the plate should be filled with Go and Grow foods. For energy-giving Go foods, older adults are encouraged to choose complex carbohydrates such as whole grains (brown rice, corn, whole wheat bread, and oatmeal) that are rich in fiber and nutrients which are linked to lower risk of diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems. Grow foods, on the other hand, are protein-rich food items (fish, lean meat, poultry, eggs and legumes) which are needed for the maintenance and repair of body tissues. To protect against heart diseases, consumption of fatty fish such as tuna, sardines and mackerel 2-3 times a week is recommended. For additional calcium needs, low-fat milk and dairy products and other calcium-rich foods like dilis and small shrimps are recommended to help strengthen the bones.
Regular physical activity
The Executive Director of the National Nutrition Council (NNC), Dr. Azucena M. Dayanghirang, served as one of the four panelists during the webinar entitled "Micronutrients & Immunity: Fortified rice for healthy diets during COVID-19 in Asia."
During the panel discussion, Dr. Dayanghirang shared the successful implementation of rice fortification in Davao de Oro, where the provincial government was able to require the use of iron-fortified rice for school feeding programs. The sustained implementation was attributed to several factors including the presence of a local producer of iron-fortified rice in the province, the political support to implement mandatory rice fortification through the enactment of ordinances, the regular conduct of monitoring, as well as the continuous information dissemination on the use and importance of iron-fortified rice through nutrition education classes and nutrition counseling.