Amid the pandemic, people are taking nutrition more seriously

Good nutrition as the key to a long and healthy life is a fact of life that has become more significant today. In the past two years of living amid a pandemic, people are taking nutrition more seriously because it boosts the immune system and protects the body from the virus.

Everyone must know what nutrition means. Simply, nutrition is feeding the body with food and nourishment for health and growth. “Good nutrition helps maintain healthy body weight and reduces the risk of overweight and obesity, protects against infection, and reduces the risk of disease and chronic conditions, like diabetes, heart disease, stroke and some forms of cancer” – are words we hear again and again in many places around us even before the pandemic took us away from the doctor’s clinic, the gym, the restaurant, and the gardens of friends.

As the country celebrates Nutrition Month, there will be more talk about the benefits of nutrition especially to the body’s immune system. Listen more closely. Good nutrition is the way to live, live well, and live long.

The government agency leading the activities of this special month is the National Nutrition Council (NNC) which has prepared activities to strengthen the people’s knowledge of nutrition, and to strengthen government and private sector support for sustainable programs. And yes, to contribute to our resilience to future problems, like another pandemic, or natural disaster.

Let’s start giving a thought on the Nutrition Month’s theme: "New normal na nutrisyon, sama-samang gawan ng solusyon!" The theme calls for strengthened nutrition interventions and solidarity toward nutrition improvement as the country shifts toward living with Covid, the council said.

Nutrition Month is an annual campaign held every July to create greater awareness on the importance of nutrition. Its observance is mandated under Presidential Decree 491, or the Nutrition Act of the Philippines.

Although the pandemic has made a huge impact on nutrition, such as increased hunger incidence, the NNC pointed out positive impacts that have affected the people’s access to nutrition. One of these is the change in lifestyle habits that now focus on nutrition and healthy choices. Another, is the sprouting of food gardens in many residential areas, providing fresh fruits, vegetables and spices to consumers. And a third is kindness, a basic human virtue that overflowed during the pandemic as community pantries, and sharing food.

As the celebration kicked off last week, the NNC announced the key messages that will be part of the Nutrition Month campaign: One, good nutrition is key to building immunity, protecting against illness and infection, and supporting recovery. Two, health-enhancing nutrition behaviors, including the consumption of sustainable healthy diets, should be promoted. Three, food and nutrition security, especially for the most vulnerable, should be supported. And, multi-sectoral engagements to scale-up nutrition interventions should be expanded.

With the World Health Organization emphasizing the benefit of proper nutrition to boost immunity and lessen the risk of severe infection amid the pandemic, most people have become more concerned about improving their health.