PINOYS SICKLY BECAUSE OF LACK OF FRUITS IN DIET - DOH SURVEY

Manila, August 9, 2003 (STAR) By Sheila Crisostomo  - In this season of unpredictable weather, more Filipinos are prone to get sick because they are not in the habit of eating fresh fruits, the Department of Health (DOH) said.

The DOH noted this was ironic considering that the country has an abundance of agricultural products, particularly fresh fruits which are also affordable so long as they are in season.

Dr. Marina Baquilod, DOH coordinator for chronic disease epidemiology, said less than half of Filipino adults eat fresh fruits, making them more vulnerable to "lifestyle-related diseases."

"Usual diet of Filipinos is composed of rice-fish-vegetables daily. Fruit consumption is common but not too frequently," she added.

Citing previous studies, Baquilod said that eight out of 10 Filipinos eat fresh fruits at least once a day, while only five in 100 adults eat the ideal five servings of fresh fruits daily.

Compounding the Filipinosí overall weak resistance, Baquilod said, is that many Filipinos also engage in unhealthy practices such as cigarette-smoking and alcohol-drinking.

"Prevalence of current smoking-tobacco use among Filipino adults is moderately high. The age initiation to smoking is (usually) during the adolescent years. Smoking cessation rate is very low," she said.

She warned that those having poor diet, unhealthy and sedentary lifestyle are usually at risk of getting cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.

"Prevention and control of lifestyle-related diseases is a socio-political and cultural issue. Investment in ... the prevention of lifestyle-related debilitating diseases should be pursued," Baquilod added.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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