Senator Leila de Lima, chairwoman of Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development, said she was concerned on the rising number of unhealthy Filipino children and teens, after United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reports on Saturday.
“It is incumbent upon the government to promote health awareness and proper nutrition among Filipinos, especially the young ones, to protect them from developing detrimental health conditions in the long run and ensure a quality way of living for them,” she said.
She added, “The State should also ensure that healthy food options are available in the market and are accessible for everyone, especially the poor, by encouraging business establishments to sell healthier yet affordable food to consumers, among others.”
According to the report, UNICEF cited that one out of three Filipino under five years old is too small for their age, while seven percent of them are too thin for their height. Meanwhile, a tenth of Filipino teens are now overweight. They also said that this is mainly because of poor diet and inadequate nutrition.
Under her Senate Bill No. 854, or the “Nutritional Information Disclosure Act,” food establishments are mandated to disclose in a “clear and conspicuous manner.”
De Lima is hoping that her Senate colleagues would look at her proposed measure, which requires fast food chains and restaurants to disclose calorie and nutritional values on their menus.
“It is high time to have a law in our country mandating the disclosure of ‘nutritional information’ in menus of food service establishments to enable consumers to make more informed and healthier food choices, promote health awareness and proper dieting,” she said.