Doctors urge parents to pack nutritious 'baon' for kids as obesity rates rise

Jasmin Romero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 30 2022 03:26 PM

Students at Ilaya Barangka Integrated School in Mandaluyong prepare to attend activities on National Students’ Day, Nov. 17, 2022. The National Youth Commission (NYC) led the celebration of National Students’ Day. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The Philippine Heart Association (PHA) is encouraging parents to be mindful of their children's diet and lifestyle by making sure that they have a nutritious "baon" or snack in classes following a rise in obesity among the younger population.

About 3.9 percent of children under-5 and 14 percent of children aged 5-10 are considered obese, data from the 2021 Expanded National Nutrition Survey showed.

Obesity also increased among adolescents (13 percent) and adults (38.6 percent), the report showed.

Obesity could lead to cardiovascular diseases, the PHA noted. 

"'Pag wala po tayong gagawin dito, it is projected by the year 2030, baka 30 percent ng Filipino adolescents puro overweight and obese na," PHA Director and Advocacy Chair Dr. Luigi Pierre Segundo said.

(If we don't do something about this problem, 30 percent of Filipino adolescents could be overweight or obese by 2030.)

Doctors say they are seeing younger patients who are suffering from diabetes and even heart failure.

"Ang youngest patient na nakita ay around 24-year-old female. Nung nalaman na may diabetes siya during that time na nagkaroon siya ng chest pains," PHA Bicol Chapter President and adult cardiologist Dr. Josephine Ricierd said.

(The youngest patient we saw was a 24-year-old female patient. She was diagnosed with diabetes during that time when she experienced chest pains.)

"May social issues na kaakibat ang obesity, nabu-bully eh," she added.

(There are social issues linked with obesity, some experience bullying.)

To address obesity among children, "lifestyle modification" is key, according to health experts. This means modifying their food intake and encouraging increased physical activity. And it often starts with being mindful of the food they consume. 


Health experts advised parents to use the model "Pinggang Pinoy," which provides a guide on giving nutritious snacks to kids.

The Pinggang Pinoy has at least 3 to 4 food groups, including carbohydrates, protein, fruits, and vegetables. 

Pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Hana Lo said packing fruits and vegetables make snacks more colorful and attractive to kids. 

Instead of sugary beverages, they should be given water. 

"Encourage kids to drink more water," she said.

Parents are also encouraged to make meal plans for their kid’s baon.

Experts urged parents to be mindful of the ingredients they buy. Selecting healthy food should not be expensive, since cheaper leafy vegetables like kangkong, pechay, and other seasonal fruits are available, according to Lo. 

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