July is nutrition month and this month will be the 48th celebration! With the aim of enhancing awareness on proper nutrition, the nationwide celebration by virtue of Presidential Decree 491 issued in 1974 is led by national and regional government agencies especially the National Nutrition Council (NNC), local governments units, academe and private sectors. Standby for various activities. Cognizant of its influence and ability to reach a broader audience, the media plays a vital role in information dissemination. Thus this article which attempts to launch a nutrition segment in this paper.
New normal na nutrisyon, sama-samang gawan ng solusyon! Such is the theme of this year’s celebration. As we live with Covid-19 virus, the theme calls for enhanced and united efforts especially among nutrition prime movers in the private and public sectors at various levels, to enable movement to a better new normal scenario. While Covid-19 had negative consequences on nutrition and health, it also ushered in positive impacts to include innovation in service delivery, home food production, increased awareness of one’s health and consuming healthy diets, and the solidarity amongst the people to help each other
Now more than ever, the role of proper or improved nutrition in the prevention and/or management of many diseases as well as in building resilience at the individual, family and community levels cannot be overemphasized. It does not only prevent underweight, wasting, stunting or other malnutrition problems but also helps ward off infection like Covid-19. Along with other aspects of healthy lifestyle, proper nutrition also helps in the prevention and management of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like diabetes mellitus, diseases of the heart and blood vessels, as well as some cancers. It is certainly a greater challenge for those who suffer from food insecurity and have no means to overcome hunger. Among those who can afford to obtain enough food, the avoidance of faulty diet may truly be a challenge. Hence, the need for continuous information and education campaign to raise awareness on the importance of and how to attain optimum nutrition.
The NNC which spearheads the celebration, suggests the following for stakeholders to promote key messages this month: conduct of webinars and online fora; maximization of use of social media; hanging of streamers, posting banners, billboards or signages in building facades or in high foot traffic areas; conduct of special events like motorcades, fun run, contests; use of visuals like paintings or exhibits and participation in activities organized by the workplace, office or community; as well as generation of resources for nutrition programs.
To update and help prepare its members and other attendees in planning and organizing activities in their respective places, the Nutritionist-Dietitians’ Association of the Philippines – Baguio Benguet Chapter (NDAP-BBC) led by Ms. Bella Basalong who also serves as the OIC Regional Nutrition Program Coordinator (RNPC) for NNC-CAR annually conducts a Pre-Nutrition Month Seminar (PNMS). In the 24th PNMS virtually conducted on June 25, 2022, the Nutrition Month Talking Points was discussed followed by other topics such as Building Resiliency in the Workplace, Management of Renal Diseases, Ways of Working out Traditional Cuisine, Achieving Sustainable Food Security, Career Updates and Evolving Opportunities for nutritionist-dietitians.
To kick off the celebration on the 1st of July, this writer representing the NDAP-BBC and the Benguet State University (BSU), shared her knowledge and insights over Z-Radio courtesy of Mr. Joseph Zambrano. Regional agencies and local government units will most likely launch their celebration on the 7th. Common activities during the month will be symposia, seminars and contests. Watch out too for media releases as in newspapers or radio talks newspaper articles where detailed discussion can be done. Read websites. Beyond raising awareness however, is the need to develop the proper attitude and practice healthy lifestyle to include proper nutrition.