INFOGRAPHIC: The '10 Kumainments'
MANILA, Philippines — Ever heard of the 10 Kumainments?
“These are the commandments on how to live healthy,” said Jovie Raval, chief of the Nutrition Information and Education of the National Nutrition Council (NNC).
The Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) — together with an inter-agency technical working group —revised the 2000 Nutritional Guidelines for Filipinos, in efforts to keep up with the country’s changing hunger and nutrition situation.
To spread the good word — on health and nutrition — among Filipinos, the NNC launched the “10 Kumainments,” a less technical and more comprehensible version of the guidelines. The Kumainments come in both English and Filipino.
“I hope that the revised version can help change the eating habits and behavior of Filipinos,” said Dr Rodolfo Florentino, president of the Nutrition Foundation of the Philippines and former FNRI Director.
Spreading the word
The 3rd revision of the guidelines, two years in the making, was finished in 2012. This year, however, the NNC plans to step up its efforts in promoting it.
The NNC came up with a media campaign starring a fictional character named Moises Dalisay or “Mang Moy,” the messenger of the 10 Kumainments. He carries two loaves of bread, in which the Kumainments are etched. Mang Moy hopes to inspire Filipinos, both young and old, to live by the nutrition commandments every day.
“Our primary targets are the care providers among households,” said Kathleen Mojica of the Foundation for Communication Initiatives, the group behind NNC’s media campaign. “Not just moms or dads, but anyone in charge of the family’s food and nutrition, like grandparents and other guardians.”
Mojica added that adolescents are the campaign’s secondary target, since teens are vulnerable to developing vices or unhealthy eating habits.
“The challenge is that the term Nutritional Guidelines for Filipinos sounds like a virus or a Republic Act. It doesn’t lend itself to food,” Mojica said. “We had to shorten the campaign guidelines to make it more memorable.” The technical handbooks distributed among health workers, however, remain the same.
Apart from NNC’s media campaign, the council also called on nutrition action officers (NAO), Barangay Nutrition Scholars, and Barangay Health Workers across the country to help spread the word among local government units (LGUs), schools, hospitals, and homes.
NAOs are tasked to assist LGU leaders with their local nutrition programs, from the regional level down to the barangays.
“NAOs can advocate for more funds for community nutrition or for more legislators on health at the local level. They can even help ensure that canteens or restaurants serve vegetables and fruits,” Raval suggested.
Raval also asked NAOs to help translate the Kumainments into their respective languages. In fact, a Visayan version was recently made with the help of NAOs.
The NNC and FNRI, however, are not alone in trying to improve the country’s nutrition situation. Other government agencies are expected to complement the Kumainments with their own programs.
The NNC advised the Department of Education to integrate the Kumainments in health classes among schools, and for the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Trade and Industry to ensure that nutritious food supplies are always accessible. Meanwhile, the Department of the Interior and Local Government must ensure that LGUs make an effort to integrate the Kumainments in their local programs.
The Department of Science and Technology will then evaluate the effectiveness of the campaign.
Mang Moy advised Filipinos to be more creative and resourceful when it comes to ensuring their family’s well-being.
He advised families to look at anchovies, shellfish, and sardines as alternative sources of calcium.
He also warned children to be careful when eating street food, as the water used in preparing these snacks may be unsanitary.
Aside from the 10 Kumainments, Mang Moy also suggested the following:
- Plant vegetables in your backyard
- Set a smart food budget per week: make it healthy and affordable
- Small fishes and legumes as alternatives to meat
- Boiled bananas or sweet potatoes as alternatives to junk food
- Meal preparation as a fun family activity
In 2015, the NNC will jumpstart its nationwide road tour reinforcing the Kumainments.
“Hopefully we can also work with the Church. So alongside the Ten Commandments, are the Kumainments,” Raval quipped.
The NNC also worked with the ARMM government in creating an Islamic translation of the Kumainments, which identified specific parts of the Koran that supported each guideline.
The NNC also called on the Philippine food industry to be more responsible. “Restaurants should take into consideration the consumers’ health. They should offer nutritious food choices,” Raval stressed. (READ: Healthier karinderyas)
Dr Corazon Barba, former FNRI director and professor emeritus of the University of the Philippines-Los Baños, added that Filipinos should learn to be smart consumers, not just money-wise, but also health-wise.
"We can be healthy even without spending so much. The important thing is that we know how to make the right choices,” Barba said. — Rappler.com