2Every year, the NNC and the DOH enjoin everyone to support the celebration of national Goiter Awareness’ Week, with the theme “Goiter Sugpuin, Isip Patalinuhin, Iodized Salt Gamitin!”  This is to create greater awareness among Filipinos to consume iodine-rich foods to prevent not only goiter but all types of Iodine-Deficiency Disorders (IDD).

What is Iodine or “yodo”?  Why is it important?  Iodine is an essential nutrient needed by the body in minute amount. It is an integral part of the thyroid hormone responsible for the regulation of body temperature, metabolic rate, reproduction, growth, nerve, and muscle function.

Iodine is an essential micronutrient for humans. Just like other minerals, it is needed by the body to regulate body temperature, metabolic rate, reproduction, growth, nerve and muscle function. Inadequate intake of iodine has a wide range of serious risks such as mental retardation, reduced IQ points, deaf-mutism, and dwarfism; goiter or enlargement of the thyroid gland, miscarriage and giving birth to abnormal babies.  Based on results of studies, an average of 13.5 IQ points is lost due to deficiency in iodine. Both children and adults are affected by IDD.

Bakit inilalagay sa asin?

One cost-effective strategy to address IDD is the addition of iodine or potassium iodate to salt.  One of the many ways to ensure iodine supply in your body is through the use of iodized salt in preparing meals. Iodized salt is salt fortified with iodine at levels above the natural state. It is food grade salt, fit for human consumption, and contains the prescribed level of iodine. Iodized salt is just like ordinary salt used to season and make food taste good. It does not make food taste bad or bitter. Iodized salt is not always fine salt o “pinong asin”. It is any salt, whether rock (coarse or “magaspang”), fine or those available in the market using the takal system. Just like any other food, iodized salt can be bought in groceries, supermarkets, sari-sari stores and even in health centers nationwide.

This salt fortification strategy was made initially in Central Luzon, particularly in the Province of Bulacan using an iodizing machine although it was short-lived because of the cost of maintenance of the machine. In Olongapo City,  the Barangay Nutrition Scholars of Barangay Sta.  Rita had their salt iodized manually through the initiative of a non-government organization under the Urban Basic Services Program in the city. Another one was in Barangay Mabayuan, Olongapo City which was initiated and initially funded by barangay officials. Meanwhile, a barangay cooperative or Samahan ng mga Magsasaka at Mangingisda  in Barangay Libaba, Palauig, Zambales had engaged also in manual salt iodization in 2015. The product is labelled as “Bagong Sikat” iodized salt, which is in operation until today.

Maging matalino, mag-iodized salt tayo!


Author:  NO III Angelita M. Pasos    29 January 2021

NSOA article

The NNC-Region III recognizes the capability and reach of radio as a key channel to inform, advocate and influence positively the perception of the general public, and bring about behaviour change among families, with the aim of improving the nutrition situation of a child during his or her First 1000 (F1k) days.

On 29 December 2020, the NNC-Region III, with funding support from the Department of Health Central Luzon Center for Health Development (DOH CL CHD), and in partnership with the RW FM 95.1, launched the maiden broadcast of the Nutrition School-on-the-Air (NSOA) F1k program.

The NSOA F1k aims to create awareness on the first 1000 days of life, improve optimum infant and young child feeding practices such as exclusive breastfeeding and complementary feeding; and promote positive nutrition and related behaviours on prevention and management of malnutrition, specifically on addressing child stunting during the first 1000 days of life.

The first episode of the NSOA F1K featured the Republic Act 11148 or Kalusugan at Nutrisyon ng Mag-Nanay Act with Ms. Margarita Santos-Natividad, Nutritionist-Dietitian IV of the DOH CL CHD as resource person. The program was privileged to have on board Ms. Ching Pangilinan, President of the Breastfeeding Pinays in the City of San Fernando, Pampanga, and a staunch advocate of breastfeeding to discuss the importance of breastfeeding support group in improving and sustaining the breastfeeding practices among lactating mothers on 5 January 2021.

SMART EATING ver3 1Christmas might have passed already but we still have the New Year to welcome and celebrate with the annual tradition of filling our tables with abundance of food for our Media Noche which is believed to bring prosperity and good luck. As the saying goes, ‘tis the season for eating and it is a true challenge to go on a diet during this season of holidays and celebrations. Add to that the endless nagging of your titas/titos and other relatives about your weight and their constant “tumataba ka na,”  and it would definitely stress you out and drive you eat more than you should.

But despite these and the flow of food that seems to be endless, let us not forget that while we dive in our favorite holiday foods, we can also practice smart and healthy eating.

A lot of us would say: “Minsan lang naman to. Bukas na ako magda-diet,” and totally forego eating healthy during this moments but it’s always possible to indulge in our favorite holiday treats without sacrificing our nutritional goals. This is possible by not treating food as the enemy. Our anxiety that the food on the table will make you fat and heavy is the first thing that we need to work on. You can always enjoy the holiday foods without having the anxiety to think about every single calorie you put into your mouth.

Below are some easy and doable tips you can keep in mind to practice eating smart and healthy during the holidays:

1. Never skip meals.

If you have a big dinner coming up, never skip meals to “prepare yourself.” Skipping meals in an effort to reserve calories may not only result to feeling hungry throughout the day but will definitely end in overeating. Eat a balanced breakfast and lunch before heading to that big dinner. You may also have light snacks in between meals, may that be fruits or crackers. This will prevent you to binge-eat during your big dinner.

2. Drink that water.

During the holidays, most often than not, we forget to drink enough water. This may result in us eating and drinking more as the sensation of thirst is mistaken by our body as hunger. Drinking alcohol while dehydrated may also cause you to drink more alcohol which we all know is bad for our health as we should always observe moderation when drinking alcoholic beverages. But if you are really going to consume alcohol, make sure to drink some water in between.

3. Eat slowly and in moderation.

If you are in a buffet, you can get a serving of your favorite foods and in a small plate and stay away from the buffet table right after.  Make sure that you have a variety of food choices in your plate and don’t just stack on one dish. Eating slowly helps you eat less as it makes you feel full faster. Eating slowly also means you get to chew your food slower and better which leads to better digestion.

4. Get that body moving.

Who says you cannot do physical activity during the holidays? After a hearty meal, you can always opt for a short walk to burn some calories and help with digestion as body movement can aid in digestion by promoting stimulation of the  stomach and intestines, which causes food to move through more quickly. A brief walk as short as 15 minutes after eating has also been proven to improve blood sugar management. Maybe you can even do it together with your loved ones and do some catching up in the process, so go for that walk!

5. Try to adhere to your normal or typical sleeping schedule.

This will prove a challenge as celebrations, especially during the New Year’s tend to stay up until in the wee hours of the morning. But having a regular sleeping schedule and actually adhering to it will not only improve your quality of sleep now but will also have long lasting effects even after the holiday season have passed. Irregular sleeping habits have been proven to not only poor sleep quality, but also poor eating habits. Sleep loss may also make it harder for you to manage your blood sugar and sleep deprivation can cause you to eat more high-sugar and high-fat foods.

Eating smart and staying healthy during the holiday seasons can be a difficult task, but it does not mean that it is impossible to achieve. By following these tips, you can proudly say your New Year’s Resolution of “eating smart and be healthy” and start this new year strong.

Let us welcome 2021 with smart and healthy eating choices. Cheers for the new year!

-Antonette Gail D. Garcia

2021Ola! It is indeed a new year. January 2021 is the perfect time to set new goals. As this year begins, why not make health your number one priority? 

After weeks of excessive eating of “not-so healthy” foods, we may get back on track with a healthier diet and exercise program.  No matter how healthy our diet is, the body is expose daily to a wide variety of potentially harmful substances. Heavy metals, pollutants, chemicals, radiation, and drugs all contribute to the subtle build-up of toxins in the body. "Eating fruits, vegetables and root crops" is one of the best recommendations for a healthy diet.  Eating plenty of fruits, vegetables and root crops will supply the much-needed vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber that are deficient in the Filipino diet. 

In addition, fruits, vegetables, and root crops can help cleanse our body from toxins that have built up over time.  Fruits, vegetables, and root crops also provide defense against chronic degenerative diseases, such as heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, some types of cancer, painful intestinal ailment called diverticulitis, and formation of cataract and macular degeneration, which are two common causes of vision loss.

It really does not matter what time of the year we cleanse our body but right after the holidays is most favorable because during Christmas time many people eat more than the typical share of sugar, fat, and processed foods.  As we face more dietary-based health challenges than ever before, particularly now that there is COVID-19 pandemic.  It is worth noting that there is a rapidly growing cases of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes mellitus which correlate almost exactly with the rise in the consumption of acid-forming foods such as sugars, saturated fats, white breads, and processed foods. 

NNC COVID-19 Nutrition Advisory No. 6 also suggests that there are fruits and vegetables that may boost our immune system.  See link

deped1Marco Miguel Anthony Lacson, a Grade Four student of the San
Fernando Elementary School, beams as he receives his DepEd
hygiene kit

The Department of Education Region III, through its Health and Nutrition Unit, has launched health and nutrition programs for public kindergarten and elementary learners in Central Luzon in line with its prevention measures against COVID-19.

These programs are the School-Based Feeding Program (SBFP) and the Distribution of Learners’ Hygiene Kits for all enrolled elementary students for School Year 2020-2021.

“Despite the pandemic, the DepEd School Health and Nutrition Program continuously advocates healthy habits to our learners even at the confines of their homes. The School Based Feeding Program and Distribution of Learners’ Hygiene Kits is one step towards good health producing better learning,” said Dra. Gladys Lourdes Bengco, DepEd Region III Medical Officer IV.

The SBFP will cover targeted public kindergarten students as well as Grades 1 to 6 students who were deemed to be under “wasted” and “severely wasted” categories based on last year’s health records. It shall provide beneficiaries with nutritious food products—through rationing—for at least 60 feeding days, and fresh or sterilized milk for 50 feeding days. The feeding program has been rolled out in implementing public elementary schools on the last week of November.

The number of beneficiaries for the distribution of nutritious food products for 2020 is 300,818 while the number of beneficiaries for the milk feeding program is 154,297 for 2020 and 319,034 for 2021.

The nutritious food products being distributed to the learners are based on a localized one-month cycle menu and a regional food supply map developed by the Regional SBFP Focal Person to ensure that these are healthy and nutritious for the target beneficiaries. On the other hand, the 20 DepEd Schools Division Offices in the region have partnered with the Philippine Carabao Center and National Dairy Authority for the supply of fresh milk for the Milk Feeding Component.  

PHOTO 2 food bankHunger is one of the leading causes of death in the world.

Our planet has provided us with tremendous resources, but unequal access and inefficient handling leave millions of people malnourished and it has to be addressed as soon as possible to save lives across the world.

The advocacy of the Municipality of Talavera is to combat hunger and malnutrition, to provide food security as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. The program that serves as our milestone to become a healthy municipality is the Food Bank.

Based on the Municipal Nutrition Office and Municipal Social and Welfare Development Office statistics show that 25,803 or 18.9% of the total population of Talavera do not get enough food to eat (Source DSWD 2017 data); 3.9% are senior citizen, 3.9% are employed agriculture, 495 or 4.46 are undernourished and 0.9% of the total population are nutritionally at risk pregnant in the year 2020. This only signifies that there is a need to establish programs that will cater and address the problems to fight hunger.

To intensify and strengthen the implementation of different programs which are essential to surpass hunger, the Municipal Ordinance No.14-2019 “An Ordinance Creating Zero Hunger Inter-Sectoral Task Force in the Municipality of Talavera” was enacted. This task force is composed of the Local Chief Executive, Councilor SB Committee on Health, President Association of the Barangays, President of the Federation of Sangguniang Kabataan, Municipal Social and Welfare Development Officer, Municipal Health Officer, Rural Health Physician, Municipal Agricultural Officer, Business Permit Licensing Officer, Municipal Nutrition Action Officer, Non-Government Organization and Establishment Owners. They collaborated and cooperated in planning, developing and organizing programs which will benefit all the recipients who are nutritionally at risk.

In essence, nutrition is upper most for the Local Government Unit who believes that no “Talaveranos” should be left behind.

In adherence to Goal 2 of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations which is “Zero-Hunger”’, the Sangguniang Bayan Members of Talavera together with the Municipal Mayor, Nerivi Santos-Martinez spearheaded and enacted the Municipal Ordinance No. 15-2019 dated October 28, 2019 creating a Food Bank in the Municipality of Talavera, providing guidelines for the donation, operation, storage and distribution of healthy and nutritious cooked meals to less fortunate members of the community in the Municipality of Talavera.

The food bank provides an avenue for civic-oriented individuals, wholesalers/distributors, local retailers, company, groups or charitable institutions to become a partner of the Local Government Unit. The municipal ordinance paved the way for all establishments engaged in selling either retail or wholesale of non-perishable goods such as canned goods, long-shelf life foods shall donate, deposit and allocated any or all unconsumed foodstuff seven (7) days before expiration as indicated in the packaging. On the other hand, everybody is encouraged to sponsor daily meals or donate goods and foodstuff to cover the day to day preparation.

The food bank of the Municipality of Talavera is located at Barangay Esguerra, Talavera, Nueva Ecija. It is open from Monday to Sunday, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. It is operated and managed exclusively by the Municipal Government of Talavera together with the member of the Municipal Nutrition Committee and in close coordination and cooperation with the Barangay Nutrition Scholars, Barangay Health Workers, Rural Improvement Club (RIC) and Volunteers. It has a spacious area which is intended to store supplies and equipment used for its daily operation; cooking will be done in the allotted kitchen in the same area.

The members of the Municipal Nutrition Committee being the front liners and operators of the food bank, are the ones accountable in the receiving of all donations whether in cash, in kind or in goods. The preparation and distribution of cooked meals to be served for the daily operation are likewise handled by the members of the Municipal Nutrition Committee. They also checked the expiration dates of all donated canned goods, pasta, bottled drinks, juices and spices while perishable goods should be stored in temperature-controlled freezers or refrigerators keep them from immediate spoilage. They also ensure that the food that they serve the beneficiaries is clean and safe.