EcoWaste Coalition Makes a Pitch for Healthy “Baon” to Combat Obesity among Children

In a bid to prevent the health consequences of
being overweight and obese among children, the EcoWaste Coalition today
organized an event showcasing “baon” with good nutritional value that are
within ordinary people’s reach and budget.
The “back-to-school” event dubbed as “Healthy Baon, Healthy Bata, Healthy
Eswela” was held at the Sto. Cristo Elementary School in Quezon City and
featured healthful snacks and drinks prepared by the Edukasyong
Pangtahanan at Pangkabuhayan
 teachers of the said public school.
Among their snack creations were burger patty made of shredded banana heart,
grated carrots and chopped malunggay leaves; pancake batter with mashed squash,
coconut milk and malunggay water on it;  and spring roll with crushed
camote and malunggay as fillings.
For healthier beverage options, the teachers concocted “Pinoy” drinks such as
the malunggay, kalamansi and tanglad juice, guava juice and talbos ng kamote
(camote tops) juice.
“We have staged this event to stir up interest and support for healthy school
snacks and drinks as a way of reducing children’s consumption of junk food
 that are high in fat, sugar and salt, which can lead to overweight and
obesity problems at an early age,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator of
the EcoWaste Coalition.
“Obese children are likely to stay obese later in life and are likely to suffer
from related non-communicable diseases, hence the need to actively promote
healthier foods, as well as regular physical activities, among our kids,” she
pointed out.  
As confirmed by the World Health Organization (WHO), “childhood
obesity is associated with a higher chance of obesity, premature death and
disability in adulthood. But in addition to increased future risks, obese
children experience breathing difficulties, increased risk of fractures,
hypertension, early markers of cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and
psychological effects.”
Citing data from the 8th National Nutrition Survey
conducted by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI), the EcoWaste Coalition
expressed concern over the rise of overweight and obese Filipinos from 16.6% in
1993 to 31.1% in 2013. The overweight and obesity prevalence was 5% among
children aged five to 10 and 8.3% for teenagers aged 10 to 19.  
The FNRI cited physical inactivity, changing dietary patterns, child
under-nutrition, and poor breastfeeding practices as possible reasons for the
steady rise of obesity in the country. 
As stated by the FNRI, “creating a healthy food environment starts at home and
school as they remain the largest sources of food access for children.”
Towards a healthy food environment, particularly in schools, the EcoWaste
Coalition urged school administrators to strengthen their implementation of the
Department of Education (DepEd) Order No. 8, Series of 2007, which states that
“school canteens shall serve as a venue for developing desirable eating habits
of pupils/ students.”
The DepEd guidelines also states that “only
nutrient-rich foods such as root crops, noodles, rice and corn products in native
preparation, fruits and vegetables in season, and fortified food products
labeled rich in protein, energy, vitamins and minerals shall be sold in the
school canteen. Beverages shall include milk, shakes and juices prepared from
fruits and vegetables in season.”
The guidelines also prohibit “the sale of carbonated drinks, sugar-based
synthetic or artificially flavored juices, junk foods and any food product that
may be detrimental to the child’s health and that do not bear the Sangkap Pinoy
seal and/or did not pass BFAD approval.”  BFAD is now known as the
Food and Drugs Administration.