BAGUIO CITY – The National Nutrition Council launched the July observance of Nutrition Month with the theme “Ugaliing Magtanim, Sapat na Nutrisyon Aanihin”, in efforts to prevent micronutrient deficiency by promoting vegetable and fruit gardening in backyards.
Cordillera Regional Nutrition Coordinator Rita Papey said through the observance, NNC advocates sustainable food gardening among families, communities and even in workplaces to promote diet diversification, reduce food poverty and increase the consumption of vegetables and fruits that is essential in addressing the micronutrient deficiency or lack of vitamins and minerals.
Aside from having a source of food in their own backyard, family members gardening together have bonding time while with neighbors or workmates, it promotes team building and camaraderie, Papey said.
Department of Health Nutritionist-Dietician Candice Willy, in the same forum, affirmed that having vegetable or fruit garden as a direct source of nutrients – rich food is an advantage.
“Nutrients that our body need can be found on natural food sources and it is more helpful than taking multi – vitamins. Still our battle cry is prevention is better than cure, so we must invest in good nutrition”, Willy said.
For nutrition programs in public schools, DepEd – CAR Medical Officer Dr. Angeline Calatan said the Department has the “Gulayan sa Paaaralan Program” that promotes vegetable and fruits gardening in school grounds.
There is also the School – Based Feeding Program wherein school garden produce are being used for feeding programs. Nutrition education is also included in the curriculum, she added.
To ensure that only nutritious food are being distributed in school canteens, DepEd issued Department Order Order 13, Series of 2017 or the Policy and Guidelines on Healthy Food and Beverage Choices in Schools and in DepEd offices, Calatan added. (JDP/CCD/A. Dela Cruz & J. Lozada-PIA CAR/ ISU Interns)