Thursday, March 28, 2019

Do you fall into #MalnutritionTraps?

"Ang payat ng mga anak mo Pearl!" 

(Your kids are thin, Pearl!)

I get this comment a lot about my kids, especially from my relatives. But, then usually it is followed by "sabagay, payat ka rin noong bata ka" (anyway, you were also thin when you were little).

Yes, I have always been slender. I guess I only gained weight after giving birth, but even until now, I am on the lighter side and I am not worried at all since my BMI is normal.

So, I don't worry that much about my children's physique. Even if they are thin, my 2 girls, Athena and Brianna's weight are normal. Tristan, however, is underweight. It could probably be because of his hyperactivity; he was diagnosed with ADHD.

It could also be because of the food we eat. I do the cooking at home and It is really a challenge to prepare a healthy balanced meal. That is why, somehow, I am worried that I am not providing my children with all the essential nutrients they need. I am also guilty of feeding them with fast food and instant foods, which I believe is also one of the struggles of most Filipino families. 

In fact, did you know that our country has been facing a rise in the number of underweight and overweight Filipinos for more than 20 years? The World Health Organization (WHO) defined this phenomenon as the “Double Burden of Malnutrition” or the “prevalence of both undernutrition and overweight in the same community, nation, or region.”


To address this problem, our government launched the Pinggang Pinoy® campaign in 2014. Pinggang Pinoy® is an easy-to-understand food guide showing proper food group portioning on a per-meal basis. This reflects the principles of MOderation, VAriety, and BAlance (MOVABA) to promote healthier eating habits. 

Solving the Philippines’ Double Burden of Malnutrition should be a collaborative effort between the public and private sectors as it is not an easy feat. With this, Ajinomoto Philippines Corporation partnered with government agencies to conduct education programs to raise awareness and promote the practice of Pinggang Pinoy® in malnutrition hotspots, where incidences of Double Burden Malnutrition are high. This training was given to homemakers/mothers who have malnourished (underweight, stunting, wasting, overweight and obese) school-aged children.

The pilot run resulted in improvements in the knowledge & attitudes of households related to the practice of Pinggang Pinoy® within target areas. However, behavior changes towards healthier eating habits remain to be a challenge. The program uncovered a number #MalnutritionTraps that some Pinoy households easily fall into. 

The following #MalnutritionTraps provide a picture of how unhealthy eating habits may lead to Double Burden of Malnutrition: 

1. Overconsumption of carbohydrates: 

Voracious rice eaters can easily fill half of their plates with rice. Others have pandesal & noodles as regular meal deprived of other nutrients derived from a well-balanced meal. 


2. Under consumption of vegetables and/fruits: 

It is common for some to be content with rice & meat to satisfy their hunger and skip/take the insufficient amount of vegetables/fruits. Fact is, the variety of colors found in Glow foods are important sources of vitamins & minerals to sustain our energy & keep us from getting sick. 

3. Overconsumption of protein: 

Typical Filipino “SILOG” meals include a double serving of proteins (e.g. Tapa+Itlog, Tocino+Itlog, Longanisa+Itlog, Bangus+Itlog). Eating different kinds of protein is fine for as long as they are taken in moderation. We must also avoid protein dishes served high in fat, cholesterol, and sodium. 

To help Filipinos break free from #MalnutritionTraps, Ajinomoto’s Culinary Nutrition Team prepared Healthy & Delicious Pinggang Pinoy® Recipes, downloadable through https://bit.ly/2HIsfkj. Busy and budget-restricted homemakers will also find these Pinggang Pinoy® recipes useful because all are easy-to-do and affordable (P250/day for a family of 5). 

For updates about Mag-Pinggang Pinoy® Tayo!, visit www.ajinomoto.com.ph and facebook.com/CookmunitybyAjinomotoPH.

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