DOH: Eat healthy this holiday season

By Ma. Teresa Montemayor

December 15, 2023, 8:22 pm

<p>A Christmas tree along United Street in Pasig City <em>(PNA photo by Robert Oswald P. Alfiler)</em></p>

A Christmas tree along United Street in Pasig City (PNA photo by Robert Oswald P. Alfiler)

MANILA – The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday reminded Filipinos to consume healthful food and drinks during the holidays to avoid non-communicable illnesses like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

“Eat a balanced, well-moderated and varied diet. Let’s limit ‘ma’ foods -- maalat, mataba at matamis (salty, fatty, and sweet),” Health Secretary Teodora Herbosa said in a media forum.

Processed foods such as junk foods, sweetened beverages, and oily dishes must be eaten in moderation if they cannot be avoided, he added.

Vegetable salads and fruits are the best replacements of such foods, he said.

Latest data from Philippine Statistics Authority show that ischemic heart disease remained the leading cause of death among Filipinos from January to November 2022 with a total of 121,558 cases, or 18.3 percent of the death toll for that period.

It was followed by cerebrovascular diseases with 57,411 deaths and neoplasms with 57,354 deaths.

Meanwhile, diabetes ranked as the fourth leading cause of death among Filipinos for the same period with 32,339 deaths recorded.

In its "Ligtas (Safe) Christmas" campaign, the DOH advised the public to avoid alcohol consumption, drink lots of water, have enough sleep, and exercise at least 30 minutes a day amid holiday celebrations.

“We’re encouraging the public to wear masks if you’re experiencing symptoms or stay at home if you have acute respiratory illnesses, coughs, colds even if you are [Covid-19] negative,” Herbosa said.

The DOH also opted for safe and age-appropriate gifts that are suitable to the child’s capabilities for their overall development.

“Please avoid giving toys containing harmful chemicals. Some of the cheaper toys use lead-containing paint. Always check the labels and packaging of the gifts you’re buying,” Herbosa added. (PNA)