A healthy body for a healthy mind | Inquirer News

A healthy body for a healthy mind

Learning is doubly hard when the body is weak.

This is the message of the Laki sa Gatas Nutrition Education Advocacy, Nestlé Philippines’ program to promote “proper nutrition for effective education.”

The five-year-old campaign underscores the need to provide children the essential nutrients for proper mental and physical development during their formative years.


The 7th National Nutrition Survey of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute in 2008 found that 25.6 percent of kids, aged 6-10, were underweight, while 33.1 percent were short for their age because of malnutrition.


These kids also fared poorly in school.

Malnutrition was found to be prevalent in the Bicol Region, Zamboanga Peninsula, Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan), and Eastern and Western Visayas. The problem was attributed to poor food choices, including the lack, or inadequate, intake of milk.

The alarming statistics prompted Nestlé to launch the Laki sa Gatas campaign to educate mothers, teachers and schoolchildren about the need for proper nutrition.

Since 2006, Laki sa Gatas campaigners have visited some 5,000 public schools throughout the country, teaching more than 2.5 million mothers and children about proper food choices.

This year, the campaign conducted nutrition lectures and related activities in Bago Bantay Elementary School (BBES), Quezon City.

Healthy future


Lending her all-out support to the program was Batangas Governor Vilma Santos-Recto who said “the future of our children depends on health.”

Addressing hundreds of schoolchildren, teachers and parents, Santos-Recto said, “How can kids be productive and competitive if they are malnourished?”

Saying her priorities were health-related, the governor said, in her province, she was initiating programs for the rehabilitation of hospitals, for the promotion of health cards and various nutrition programs. “I believe that health is number one,” she stressed.

Santos-Recto encouraged families “to bring back the habit of drinking milk.”

She said milk was a good food supplement as it was rich in calcium, iron, zinc and other essential vitamins and minerals.

She told her audience that, as a kid, her mother made sure that her baon included milk.

John Miller, chairman and chief executive officer of Nestlé Philippines, said “proper nutrition is a key to a healthy and well-balanced life. [It] need not be expensive.” Saying Nestlé products were affordable, Miller said, “We promise to be your family’s partners.”

Also at the event were Nestlé Philippines’ Eugene David, business executive manager of dairy health and nutrition solutions; Sandra Puno, communication and marketing services director; Jasmin Estacio, consumer marketing manager of Bear Brand Powdered Milk Drink; Joseph Juico, Quezon City District 1 councilor; Adela Salvador, BBES principal; and Milagros Quiñones, Department of Education district supervisor.

During the event, schoolchildren were taught about basic food grouping Go, Grow and Glow. They also enjoyed fun and exciting activities like Bring Me and puzzles, and songs and dances with the mascot Kuya Bear.

A storytelling session focused on the importance of eating the right kind of food and drinking two glasses of milk every day.

Afterwards, the kids tried to show their ambitions in life by drawing on pieces of paper, using crayons. The drawings were then wrapped around special “ambition glasses” to remind them of their dreams that could be attained through a healthy body and mind.

This year, the Laki sa Gatas campaign will be brought to more provinces. The program will particularly target areas with low-milk per capita consumption because many Filipino families are in the lower-income bracket.

Among those the campaign hopes to visit this year are Bataan, Aurora, Nueva Vizcaya and Zamboanga where it hopes to reach more than 700,000 students and 400,000 parents.

“We are investing big time in the Philippines,” said Miller. But he acknowledged the task was huge even for a multinational company.

So Nestlé Philippines is partnering with schools and local governments in its nutrition education advocacy.

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David said the company was happy that its advocacy was helping parents, who dreamt of giving their children a better future, and all schoolchildren who deserved a better life.

TAGS: Food, Health, Nutrition, Philippines

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