Parolita Mission, RNC-regional director explained that this year’s nutrition month focuses on adolescents’ nutrition and health needs particularly on the preparation and consumption of nutritious foods such as vegetables and fruits.
Mission, a nurse herself said, when you talk of adolescents, “kabarkadahan” is such an important phase of growing up and what better way to spend time with the “kabarkadas” but cooking, eating, drinking and ‘gimmick’ time.
However, she quoted a WHO-study that the increasing prevalence and incidence of non-communicable diseases during adulthood are the results of faulty nutrition and lifestyles practices during pre-adolescence and adolescence phase.
Mission added that due to these findings, there is a greater need to teach the youth today to practice healthy lifestyles and proper nutrition that will prepare them to become healthy and productive adults in the future.
In a nutrition forum held in Cebu City recently, DepEd nutritionist Grace Espos prevealed that 16.46% of the high school students in the region weighed below normal at the start of the school year of 2005-2006 but this decreased by 1.31% at the end of the year due to the sustained supplemental feeding program of the government.
According to the NNC, poor nutrition among adolescents (10-19 years old) may lead to slow growth and development; poor school performance; poor nutrition in adulthood and micronutrient deficiencies.
Mission , who is also the nutrition program coordinator in region 7 said, “It is time to address the nutrition needs of the adolescents.
Mission revealed that one way to address the nutrition needs of the adolescents is to conduct sessions on cooking. One of the highlights of this 33rd year observance of nutrition month in is a vegetable cooking contest among the youth dubbed as “Barkadahan Bonding, Utan Cooking Contest,” on July 20 at the SM Entertainment Hall, SM-Cebu.
Thirteen teams having 2-3 members that are composed of five (5) teams of out-of-school youth groups and 13 teams from the in-school groups in Cebu City are expected to join the “Utan cooking contest” this Friday at the mall.
Participants must enter as a team or as “barkadas” with a recipe that calls for low-cost and either be a one-dish meal; a side-dish or a snack dish using vegetables as the main ingredients.
The contestants may use any kinds of vegetable; leafy, fruit, root crops and legumes and all participants are required to bring their own ingredients and cooking paraphernalia and utensils but no open fire stove.
There will be two winners each for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes at P5000, 3000 and 1500 respectively. Consolation prizes will also be given at P500 each.
Mission said the out-of-school youth organizations entries come from lapulapu City, Cebu City, Regional Haven in Labangon, House for Girls and, while the in-school groups come from Abellana Nat’l High School; Don Vicente Rama memorial Nat’l High school; Camp Lapulapu nat’l High school; Busay nat’l High School; Regional Rehab center for Youth in Argao; Cebu Normal University and Lapulapu City.
Other activities that have been lined up for this month’s celebration include the following; month-long exercise for the adolescents in the public and private schools; mural painting at the SIH Nurses’ Home depicting health and nutrition concerns; Nutrition Officers’ Congress and the Grand Nutrition Awards on July 27.
In similar developments, the Regional Nutrition Council revealed that the government’s supplemental feeding program has contributed greatly in improving the nutritional status of pre-school children ages 3-5 years old in the region. Malnutrition rate in Central Visayas has dramatically decreased says Parolita Mission, the region’s director.
Statistics from the national Nutrition Council (NNC) showed that about 209,620 of the more than 800,000 school children weighed during the school year 2005-2006 were underweight but after the implementation of the supplemental feeding program in 2006-2007, underweight children decreased from 209,620 to 201,118.
Supplemental feeding consisted of hot milk and enriched bread, according to Mission was implemented to preschoolers in DSWD-accredited day care centers in the region daily, Monday to Friday throughout the summer period.
The supplemental feeding program have benefited about 9,040 school children in 16 towns in Central Visayas with, Bohol and Siquijor having three (3) pilot areas while Oriental Negros had seven (7).
This program also educates parents on how to prepare nutritious meals for their children, espouse values and promotes nutrition-friendly schools and community.(PIA-cebu/MBCN)