DOH reminds public: Eat healthy this holiday season

MANILA — Overindulgence in food during this time of the year is an inevitable part of the festive season but an official of the Department of Health (DOH) has reminded the public to prepare and eat healthy food. 

DOH Undersecretary and Public Health Service Team officer-in-charge Myrna Cabotaje said most Filipino families serve unhealthy food during the holidays, which could cause high blood pressure and diabetes. 

Kapag holidays, wala man tayong maipakitang statistics, napapansin ng mga emergency room doctors maraming kumukonsulta dahil sa cardiac diseases, hypertension, stroke dahil sa pag-inom ng alak at pagkain ng matataba at maaalat (During the holidays, even though we don’t have the statistics, emergency room doctors notice that many [patients] consult them for cardiac diseases, hypertension, stroke, due to drinking alcohol and eating of fatty and salty food),” Cabotaje said in an interview. 

Cabotaje said one can still enjoy the food prepared during the season but advised to do so in moderation, especially sugary food.  “I advise that both kids and adults refrain from eating too much sweets. I cannot say totally prohibited because it’s the holidays, so I suggest prepare a lot of vegetables and fruits in your Christmas parties, but if you’re already diabetic, be careful about eating unlimited fruits,” she said. 

Cabotaje also reminded parents to include exercise or physical activities in their children’s daily schedule even if it’s already vacation time. 

Ang pag-iingat sa pagkain at pag-ehersisyo, mali isipin na para sa mga matatanda lang sila kung hindi para sa mga bata din dapat para manataling malusog ngayong kapaskuhan (Being careful with food and exercising, it is wrong to think that they’re only for the old. It is also for the young, so they’ll remain healthy during the holidays),” she said. 

Thirty-year-old vendor, Ryan Andes, usually cooks his children’s favorite food for noche buena without thinking whether or not these are healthy to eat. 

Naghahanda kami ng iyong pangkaraniwan lang na spaghetti, mga hotdog saka siyempre iyong soft drinks at cake (We prepare the typical spaghetti, hotdogs and of course soft drinks and cake),” Andes said. 

While it is recommended to prepare health food such as vegetable and fruits during Christmas season, Andes admitted that he doesn’t prepare vegetable dishes for noche buena. 

“Hindi kami naghahanda ng gulay kasi walang kakain, ito nga lang anak ko hindi mahilig sa gulay ito. Kapag pang-party ang fried chicken ang gusto nila (We don’t prepare vegetables because nobody will eat them, my daughter doesn’t like vegetables. They like to eat fried chicken during parties),” he said. 

Even if both sides of his family have diabetes and heart problems, Andes said he is not scared about acquiring or inheriting the same diseases.  “Wala pa naman akong sakit ngayon kaya kahit ano na munang kainin namin sa ngayon. Siyempre kapag may sakit ka, hinay-hinay sa pagkain, ‘di ba (Since I’m not suffering from any illness yet, so we can eat anything now. Of course, if you’re sick, you eat in moderation, right?),” he said. 

In an earlier interview, DOH Undersecretary Eric Domingo said most Filipinos make the holidays an excuse to drink a lot of alcohol and eat fatty and sugary food. 

“We make it an excuse that families get together only on Christmas Day, we also want to remind everyone to celebrate the holidays in moderation,” he added. 

Domingo added that it is best to have a meal plan to control your cholesterol, blood pressure, and sugar levels during the holidays whether you have or do not have diabetes and hypertension yet. Ma. Teresa Montemayor/