The Department of Health spearheads the celebration of Heart Month this February with the theme: “Gulay at Prutas Araw-Arawin, Matamis, Mamantika, at Maalat Hinay-Hinayin.” This Valentine’s Day, the public is reminded to choose a heart-healthy gift or practice a healthy lifestyle and diet to keep one healthy. Here are some heart-friendly tips from DOH:
- Instead of buying your sweetheart an overload of cakes, sweets, and fatty foods, why not give a more permanent gift. A poem, letter or message may convey more feeling.
- If you choose to buy chocolates, choose dark chocolate with less sugar and caramel added. Dark chocolate should be made up of at least 60-70 percent cocoa. It has flavonoids, antioxidants, which are good for the heart and blood vessels. Eat only a moderate amount, approximately an ounce (around 30 grams) a day.
- Be active on Valentine’s Day. Plan an outing or walk around a park or mall. Walking for 30 minutes is good for your heart.
- Home cooking is healthier than restaurant food. Instead of an expensive restaurant date, why not cook at home and enjoy a romantic dinner for two. For example, you can eat fish like tuna, mackerel, bangus and salmon.
- Split your meal in two. If you still want to go to a restaurant for a date, splitting your meal can cut your calorie intake in half.
- Give fresh fruits. If you want to eat something sweet, local fresh fruits in season are the healthier choice.
- Don’t smoke. If your sweetheart is a smoker, encourage him or her to quit smoking. Smoking can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Hence, quitting is the best Valentine’s Day gift for your loved one.
- Be faithful to your partner. Reduce your stress and enjoy life more.
In the Philippines, deaths related to Non-Communicable Diseases are attributed to: cardiovascular diseases (33%), cancer (10%), diabetes (6%), and chronic respiratory diseases (5%) (WHO Report on NCD Country Profiles 2014). The Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) National Nutrition Survey showed that there is an increasing prevalence in the following behavioral factors from 2008 to 2013: diabetes from 4.8% to 5.4% and overweight among adults from 26.6% to 31.1% while decreasing trends for hypertension from 25.3% to 22.3% and current adult smokers from 31.0% to 25.4%.
Last 2016, the DOH launched the establishment of the DOH Hypertension and Diabetes Club. This will be scaled-up nationwide to enhance the initiatives in addressing Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) and will serve as a support group in communities to disseminate information and ensure that appropriate management is provided to all patients. As of February 2017, more than 600,000 patients are registered in the club.
To be part of the DOH Hypertension and Diabetes Club, the client needs to consult the nearest health center or primary health care facility to undergo assessment, screening and management using the Philippine Package of Essential NCD Intervention (PhilPEN) protocol. Once the patient is diagnosed to have hypertension and/or diabetes, he/she will be enrolled to the club. Member can access DOH drugs for hypertension (Losartan/Amlodipine/Metoprolol) and diabetes (Metformin). They will also benefit from activities promoting healthy lifestyle.
“Be kind to your heart. Choose healthier options this Valentine’s Day, maintain a regular diet and exercise. Gulay at Prutas Araw-Arawin, Matamis, Mamantika, at Maalat Hinay-Hinayin,” Secretary Paulyn Jean B. Rosell-Ubial concluded.