The Filipino Diet: 10 facts about Juan’s daily consumption

Sama sama-sama nating alamin ang kinakain ni Juan (Let’s find out together what Juan eats),” remarked Ivy Sicat, RND, corporate nutritionist of Nestle Philippines, Inc. during the round table discussion of Food and Nutrient Intakes of Filipinos: Analysis of the 2013 National Nutrition Survey recently held at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati City last July 22.

Have you ever wondered what we, as a nation, consume on a daily basis aside from our staple food, rice? What is the greatest source of our nutrition? The Department of Science and Technology-Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI) in collaboration with Nestle Research Institute, conducted an analysis of the food and nutrient intakes of Fillipino children and adults, as well as, identify their nutrition needs and food sources through the Kids Nutrition and Health Study (KHNS) and Silver Atlas.

DOST-FNRI Chief Science Research Specialist Dr. Imelda Agdeppa shared 10 facts to give the us an overview of the typical Filipino diet.

1. The Filipino diet is predominantly carbohydrates, mainly from rice, with low intakes of nutrient-dense food such as fruits, vegetables, and dairy.

2. Forty-two percent of adults between the age of 19 to 49 years old are deficient in protein. Higher prevalence is observed among older adults, especially in the rural areas and the lowest socioeconomic class. The top five sources of protein for adults are rice, fish, pork, poultry, and bread.

3. The top consumed food items for adults are rice, pork, vegetables, soft drinks, and fish.

4. The top consumed food items among children age four to12 years old are rice, pork, fish, vegetables, and soft drinks.

5. One out of two Filipino children eats vegetables. The top three vegetables consumed are eggplant, string beans, and squash.

6. One out of five Filipino children eats fruits. The top three consumed fruits are banana, papaya, and jackfruit.

7. The top three sources of saturated fats for adults and children are processed meat (sausages), oil, and pork .

8. The top sources of sodium for adults are processed meat, instant noodles, bread, dried fish, sweet bakes goods, and condiments.

9. The top sources of sodium for children are instant noodles, bread, dried fish, processed meat, condiments, and fish.

10. Total sugar consumption for adults and children is 25g and 27g respectively. It includes naturally occurring and free or added sugars.

In addition, based on the Kids Nutrition and Health Study and Silver Atlas results, the percentage of Filipinos consuming milk decreases from ages six to 49 years old, and again shows an increase beyond the age of 50. The greatest percentage in the study was observed among children ages three to five years old.

What is the purpose of this nationwide survey? What are these data for? Prof. Zenaida F. Velasco, president of the Nutritionist Dietitians’ Association of the Philippines emphasized the input and impact of the FNRI National Nutrition Surveys done every five years on the following national plans and programs: Philippine Development Plan, Medium Term Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition, Poverty Alleviation Programs, Food Fortification and Supplementation Programs, Philippine Coalition for the Prevention, and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases.

“In the Human Capital Index report released last year by the World Bank, the Philippines scored 0.55. This means that children born in the country today are expected to achieve only 55 percent of their potential income when they reach adulthood, compared to fully healthy children who receive a complete, high-quality education,” said Prof. Velasco during the round table discussion attended by different nutrition organizations.

The latest Food Consumption Survey by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute in 2013 showed that 69.3 percent or about seven in 10 Filipino households do not meet their dietary energy requirement.

Prof. Velasco continued, “Addressing malnutrition sustainably must take a life cycle approach, targeting all children, adolescent girls, and pregnant and lactating women, with a range of interventions adapted to the local context and coordinated across multiple levels and sectors of government.”— Source: Cheshire Que RND , RN, RD /

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