1 in 10 Filipino adults suffering from chronic energy deficiency

Metabolism impaired with lack of micronutrients

It may seem easy for one to become health conscious these days, considering the deluge of healthy and organic products in the local market. But to stay completely nourished is another thing.

Philippine Association of Nutrition (PAN), Inc. President Dr. Gemiliano Aligui urged Filipinos to make nutrition a priority, following the result of the recent National Nutrition Survey, which revealed that one in every 10 Filipino adults has chronic energy deficiency (CED) or nutritional deficiency.

Dr. Aligui explained that people with CED may have any of the following: inadequate food intake, impaired tissue growth, anorexia from intestinal parasitism, anorexia from trace element deficiency, and anorexia with general chronic infection.

Dr. Aligui, who is also the chair of the Institutional Research Ethics Review Committee of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) of the Department of Science and Technology, further detailed the importance of complete nutrition to overall health, as proven by his study titled “Adult energy deficiency: What we should need to know about vitamins and minerals,” presented during the 8th National Nutrition Survey held in Cebu City.

“The significance of getting the complete micronutrients all at the same time is that metabolic processes are made efficient when all micronutrients are available in the body. Free radicals are better eliminated with a balance of micronutrients such as chromium, zinc, selenium, lithium, and vanadium,” Dr. Aligui said.

He added that it is important to note that this observation thus dismisses the growing concern among weightconscious Filipinos that multivitamins cause weight gain.

He clarified, “Contrary to popular belief, taking vitamins actually increases metabolism, which is the process of breaking down food for energy or building body cells and tissues.”

With this, in addressing CED, he recommended Filipino adults to consider taking the right balance of macronutrients, which are nutritional components of the diet that are required in relatively large amounts (protein, carbohydrate, and fat, among others), and micronutrients, which are substances needed in small amounts for normal body function.

“You should consider complete vitamin supplementation and opt to fill the nutritional gap with a multivitamin complete from A to Zinc. Consider also calcium with vitamin D supplementation as bone health is equally important for the aging group as this would protect against osteoporosis,” he said.

Improving statistics

Despite the findings on CED, Dr. Aligui was quick to add that there was an improvement in CED statistics in the country, explaining that from 1993 to 2013, there is a decreasing trend in its prevalence from 13.9 percent to 10.3 percent.

But he revealed that while there was a decrease in the number of CED cases, there was, however, an increasing trend in the prevalence of overweight and obesity — from 16.6 percent in 1993 to 29.9 percent in 2013. The study showed that three in every 10 adults are overweight and obese, with more females than males falling under the category.

“So, while we are concerned with chronic energy deficiency, overweight, and obesity are more problematic,” he added.

He then said that one way to deal with this growing health concern is to increase metabolism by taking vitamins.

“Vitamins and other nutrients are required to burn fat. These, coupled with a balanced diet and regular physical activities or exercise help maintain an ideal weight,” he continued.

Vitamins and minerals that have metabolic benefits include B complex, which helps metabolize carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, and helps the body use stored energy in food; iron, which enables the tissues to burn fat; Coenzyme Q10, which helps increase strength and efficiency of muscles (particularly the heart muscles); and creatine, which is widely used to enhance athletic performance and improve muscle strength by 15 percent.

“To boost your metabolism further, eat regularly, with light and healthy snacks. Eating breakfast also increases resting metabolism by 10 percent. Working out in alternate intensity levels lets you burn more fat,” he advised.

The study results were derived from a survey conducted from June 2013 to April 2014, covering all 17 regions of the country, 79 provinces, 45,047 households, and 172,323 individuals.

It forms part of the 8th National Nutrition Survey of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute, which is mandated to define the Filipino citizenry’s nutritional status (E.O. 128 Sec. 22). The NNS has evolved to become the key source of data for the national government not just on nutrition-related information but on health matters as well.

VitalSigns Issue 66 Vol. 3, August 1-31, 2014

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