GOOD nutrition is also an issue among government workers.
For this reason, the National Nutrition Council Governing Board (NNC-GB) has recently adopted a policy statement on nutrition program for government employees.
The findings of the 7th and 8th National Nutrition Survey of the Department of Science and Technology-Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI) showed that working adults with occupations categorized as officials, professionals, and clerks have high prevalence of overweight and obesity.
The same study revealed that these adult workers also suffer from hypertension, high fasting blood glucose and cholesterol, and with low physical activity compared to other occupational groups.
Regional Nutrition Program Coordinator Nona Tad-y said the nutritional survey showed that the combined prevalence of overweight and among officials at 49.6 percent nationwide is higher than the national prevalence among all adults at 31.1 percent.
“There are more female officials who are overweight and obese at 51 percent compared to male officials at 47.9 percent,” Tad-y said.
Tad-y said considering the data, the NNC-GB has recommended a nutrition program for government workers as part of healthy work places, a component of the Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition 2017-2022.
“The workplace is one of the ideal settings for health promotion and disease prevention,” she added.
Among the recommended measures are the conduct of nutrition education programs, ensure that office canteens serve low-cost and nutritious meals, or order such meals during events, and maintain physical exercises or activities.
Generally, the nutrition program for government workers revolves on four components, namely: Nutrition Promotion, Healthy Food and Work Environment, Behavior Modification Strategies, Food Systems Interventions.
Under the nutrition promotion, the offices can conduct nutrition education classes and counseling with employees to reduce weight, while healthy food and work environment efforts can be in the form of regular assessment of nutritional status of workers, with physical and medical examinations and linked with the Department of Health (DOH) for provision of services, sustaining physical activities, availability of safe drinking water, maintaining food gardens and implementation of breastfeeding among others.
Behavior modifications are initiatives, like improving stairs which should be preferred over elevators, improving walking areas, having a gym, allotting a room with physical fitness equipment.
This also includes improving food choices by restricting unhealthy food and beverages, requiring meeting and events to begin with simple physical exercises and with standing breaks.
Food system interventions, on the other hand, include increased funding for health promotion to address obesity, matching farmers and agencies for healthy produce, food reformulation to reduce saturated fats, sugars, and giving incentives to businesses for advancing public health and nutrition.
Meanwhile, the policy statement also provides for implementation of guidelines which points to the DOH as lead agency in the Technical Working Group composed of the Department of Agriculture, Department of Labor and Employment, DOST, the Civil Service Commission (CSC), among others.
While individual agencies shall formulate own nutrition program, the CSC shall assess the capacity of the Human Resource Management of each agency in implementing the Health and Wellness Program. (NNC/ESS)