A June 6, 2013, press release from the Department of Health
The Department of Health (DOH) today formally launched Pilipinas Go4Health, the nationwide healthy lifestyle movement that aims to help prevent and control the prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the country. These diseases, while highly preventable, are on the rise mainly due to the lack of regular exercise, improper diet, and excessive drinking and smoking, according to DOH.
NCDs such as cardiovascular diseases, cancers, respiratory diseases, and diabetes claim more than 36 million lives worldwide annually. “When it comes to their health, Filipinos need to be liberated from misinformation or lack of information, indifference, and careless practices and habits,” said Secretary of Health Enrique Ona.
Pilipinas Go4Health seeks to encourage Filipinos from all walks of life to commit to a healthy lifestyle through physical activity, proper nutrition, and the prevention or cessation of smoking and alcohol consumption. “There is abundant scientific and social evidence that addressing these habits is the path to better health,” Ona said.
“One of the keys to good health is regular exercise,” said the health chief. “The human body is designed for motion. Daily physical activity is for everyone, from the very young to the very old,” he added.
Only 7 out of 100 Filipino adults engage in vigorous exercise at least three or four times a week based on findings by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI). Regular exercise is important because a sedentary lifestyle may lead to increased risk for heart diseases, stroke, diabetes, obesity, some cancers, and even depression and anxiety. Aside from ensuring regular physical activity, a proper diet is a must. “Eating right and maintaining a proper diet means more vegetables and fruits, and less meat, processed foods, salt, and sugar,” Ona said.
Pilipinas Go4Health also focuses on avoiding smoking and moderating alcohol consumption. Ten Filipinos die every hour because of illnesses related to cigarette smoking. A total of 17.3 million Filipino adults aged 15 years and older are tobacco smokers, according to data from the 2009 Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS). The 2007 Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) survey also shows that 57.8% of youths live in homes with smokers, and some 67.9% are exposed to smokers outside their homes.
“GATS data show that a number of smokers accessed tobacco when they were very young to make informed choices. By the time they are old enough, they may find it very hard to quit and some may already suffer its consequences,” explained Ona. Smoking is directly linked to lung cancer, emphysema, and bronchial disorders.
Ona also cautions drinkers and would-be drinkers, “The effect of alcohol on health is complex. It may lead to impaired judgment, which contributes to risky behaviors that may result in road accidents or violence, among others”.
“Every Filipino has the right to a healthy family, community, and country. DOH will continue to work hand-in-hand with different sectors to provide options for healthy living and make it accessible to as many people as possible. It’s not too late, so we must act now,” concluded Ona.
Pilipinas Go4Health is the nationwide healthy lifestyle movement led by the DOH) and its partners. It aims to inform and encourage Filipinos from all walks of life to practice a healthy lifestyle by making a personal commitment to physical activity, proper nutrition, and the prevention or cessation of smoking and alcohol consumption. Visit www.go4health.ph for more information.
MANDA ICASIANO, Public Information Office, Angono, Rizal