The Cordillera office of the National Nutrition Council (NNC-CAR) said that food insecurity leads to health deterioration, increasing the risk for non-communicable diseases and microbial infections due to poor immunity. Speaking during the regular Monday flag raising ceremony at the City Hall in time for the launching of the 49th nutrition month celebration, NNC-CAR regional nutrition
program coordinator Bella Basalong stated that malnutrition, both undernutrition and overnutrition, deficiency of micronutrients and increase risk of congenital defects among infants are also consequences of food insecurity.

Further, she pointed out that food insecurity also negatively impacts one’s mental well being due to psychological distress. The NNC-CAR official asserted that people must give preference to a healthy and sustainable diet not by just consuming volume of food to fill their tummies that is why the Filipino Pinggang Pinoy Plate Model which consists of the Go, Grow and Glow food is the basic guide in ensuring that they are satisfying their nutrient needs and eliminating unnecessary expenses because of acquired diseases due to poor diet.

Earlier, the health department released Administrative Order (AO) No. 39, series of 2021 eliminating industrially-produced trans fats in the country. Trans fats are a bad type of fat that increases heart disease and other health problems. Among the examples of food with trans fats include margarine, lard, commercially baked pasties, breads and cookies and frozen pizza. The said type of fat is used because it has a longer shelf life, can be re-used in frying and improves the taste and texture of products.

Under the said policy, the sale of foods with more than 2 grams of trans fats per 100 grams or 100 millilitre of the products will be banned by June 2023. Basalong called on the people to limit consumption of processed products and shift their diet to natural and fresh foods which are way more healthier. In conjunction to adhering to a healthy diet, people must also adopt a sustainable diet which appeals for an environment-friendly way of food production to ensure that the planet can still produce food for the next generations.

According to her, having a plant-based diet, consuming just enough amount of meat and replacing meat with other protein rich food is desired She recommended that to address food and nutrition insecurity, the local government can help by strengthening local food production; issue legislations and policies to improve food value chains, food security and healthier food options; provide services to address food insecurity; improving access of the community to healthy food options; intensify nutrition education and changing eating behaviors and involve various stakeholders
for integrated actions in transforming food systems towards affordable healthy diets.

The theme of this year’s nutrition month celebration is Healthy Diet Gawing Affordable for All. It aims to raise awareness in supporting Filipinos to improve access for an affordable healthy diet to reduce malnutrition, sustain food security, improve health and quality of life. Basalong admitted that global food insecurity is an emerging challenge as the human population escalates based on the latest available data from the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science
and Technology in 2018 where 3 out of 10 households in the city experience lack of food.

By Dexter A. See

Amianan Balita Ngayon