PIA News Service - Sunday, December 2, 2012


Feature: Teen pregnancy endangers young mom, baby

By Eva A. Goyena

Estimates from the 2008 National Demographic and Health Statistics (NDHS) of the National Statistics Office (NSO) revealed that one in four, or 26 percent, of women aged 15-24 have begun childbearing.

Of the 26 percent of young mothers, 19 percent of the births delivered have multiple medical risks due to a combination of the mother’s age, birth interval and birth order, the NDHS further revealed.

A related survey conducted in 2011 by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST) among 1,650 Filipino pregnant women showed that 40 percent of pregnant teenagers below 15 years old and 36 percent of pregnant teenagers aged 15-19 are nutritionally-at-risk due to their gestational age.

The percentage of nutritionally-at-risk pregnant women was twice higher among those who are less than 20 years old at 36.0 percent than among the 20 years old and up at 23.0 percent, the survey added.

Undernutrition among pregnant teens is a significant problem because 43.4 percent of them had low weight gain during pregnancy and more likely to have babies with low birth weight and experience short lactation, the FNRI survey also disclosed.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said stillbirths and death in the first week of life are 50.0 percent higher among babies born to mothers younger than 20 years old than among babies born to mothers 20–29 years old.

In addition, rates of premature birth, low birth weight and asphyxia or difficulty of breathing are higher among babies of adolescents, all of which increase the chance of early death and future health problems, the WHO also noted.

The Population Commission (PopCom) likewise documented in 2001 that poor nutrition worsened by multiple pregnancies and closely spaced births make younger moms more susceptible to infectious diseases as well as health complications that may result in maternal or infant deaths and low birth weight babies.

Maternal depletion or deficiency has adverse effects on the nutrient composition of breast milk, particularly on vitamin A, iodine, and B complex, thereby increasing the risk of early undernutrition among infants, the PopCom underscored.

For more information about food and nutrition, contact: Dr. Mario V. Capanzana, Director, Food and Nutrition Research Institute, Department of Science and Technology, General Santos Avenue, Bicutan, Taguig City.Email: mvc@ fnri,dost.gov.ph or mar_v_c@yahoo.com; Tel/Fax: 837-2934, 837-3164, 837-2071 local 2296; or visit our website at : http\\www.fnri.gov.ph. (FNRI-DOST S & T Media Service)


Feature: Urban living can make you overweight

By Celina Ann Z. Javier

Most people want to live in urban areas because they think it is where they can find success in life. But urban living can also create problems, including becoming overweight.

Urban living means fast living. People gobble up on fatty food for daily meals. People are always busy with work and, therefore, don’t have extra time for regular exercise.

People rely on computers and cell phones for faster work and communication. As a result, they are mostly sedentary (or sitting while working) and lack rigorous physical activity. People often use vehicles for faster transportation, instead of walking, even if the destination is just a short distance away.

For these reasons, urban living can make you overweight.

Based on the 2008 National Nutrition survey (NNS) by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST), the region with the highest prevalence of overweight among adults aged 20 years old and above is the National Capital Region (NCR) or Metro Manila with 32.2 percent.

Overweight and obesity are one of the serious problems of the modern world today. It is the fifth leading risk to global death. Twenty-two medical disorders and twelve types of cancers can develop from being overweight.

Dr. Philip T. James, president of the International Association for the Study of Obesity, reported that the problem of obesity is like climate change. People know there that there is a problem, yet they don’t want to do anything about it.

But can we really do something about it? The answer is yes.

Here are some tips to make urban living healthy: Avoid eating in restaurant buffets or in eat rice-all-you-can fast foods. This setting encourages eating more even if you are already full.

Don’t skip breakfast even when busy. Giving up breakfast does not make you slimmer because it slows down metabolism.

Add more colors to your plate by eating vegetables and fruits. Have a ready vegetable salad in your refrigerator rather than having ready-to-eat cup noodles which are usually high in sodium, fat, artificial flavors and preservatives.

 Avoid softdrinks and powdered juice during meals. Just drink lots of water.

 When buying food, especially processed and packaged fresh produce, read labels to be aware of ingredients, nutrients, claims and expiry date.

 Encourage your workplace to have a regular physical activity for employees.
Plan a weekend exercise with friends at the nearby park, backyard or front lawn.

Popularize a trend, like riding bicycle to work if your location permits you.

When in the workplace, avoid using the telephone to communicate with your co-workers. Walk and talk to them personally. Avoid using the elevator or escalator when not in a hurry or when not bringing heavy things. Use the staircase, instead.

Overweight and obesity do not only threaten the health of those in the urban areas but rural folks as well. Urban dwellers are just more prone to becoming overweight because of their environment.

People in the rural areas or in the provinces are also encouraged to practice healthy living by making healthy food choices and increasing or sustaining physical activities.

Fighting overweight may not be as easy as it requires long-term commitment and a lot of sweat. Before deciding on a weight-loss strategy, make sure you have the heart to do it.

For more information on food and nutrition, contact: Dr. Mario V. Capanzana, Director, Food and Nutrition Research Institute, Department of Science and Technology, General Santos Avenue, Bicutan, Taguig City. E-mail: mcv@fnri.dost.gov.ph, Telefax: 837-2934 and 827-3164, or call: 8372071 local 2296 or visit our website: http://www.fnri.dost.gov.ph. (FNRI-DOST S&T Media Service)