SEN. Leila de Lima has expressed concern on the rising number of “unhealthy” Filipino children due to improper diet based on a report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef).
Unicef reported that one out of three Filipino children under five years old is stunted or too short for their age, while 7 percent of them are too thin for their height.
A tenth of Filipino adolescents, meanwhile, are now overweight, the same report showed.
“It is incumbent upon the government to promote health awareness and proper nutrition among Filipinos, especially the young ones, to protect them from developing detrimental health conditions in the long run and ensure a quality way of living for them,” de Lima said.
She added that the government must ensure that healthy food choices were “accessible for everyone, especially the poor, by encouraging business establishments to sell healthier yet affordable food to consumers, among others.”
Unicef’s report cited poor diet, inadequate nutrition and a failing food system as the top reasons why more and more Filipino children are not growing healthily nowadays. It also makes them vulnerable to diseases.
De Lima said the government should not forget to value the people’s right to health despite the many issues hounding the state, stating, “Health is a human right.”
The senator appealed to her Senate colleagues to support her proposed Senate Bill 854, where food establishments are mandated to disclose in a “clear and conspicuous manner” on their menus the calorie content information, which shall be adjacent to the name of the standard menu item.