Be kind to your heart—DOH

The Department of Health (DOH) reminded that you should choose a heart-healthy gift or practice a healthy lifestyle and diet to keep one healthy as 30 percent percent of the deaths in the Philippines are cardiovascular diseases.

“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,” Health Secretary Paulyn Jean B. Rusell-Ubial said on Monday.

The DOH revealed some heart-friendly tips:

  • 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 percent), cancer (10percent), diabetes (6percent), and chronic respiratory diseases (5 percent) as stated in the  World Health Organization 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 percent  to 5.4 percent and overweight among adults from 26.6 percent to 31.1 percent while decreasing trends for hypertension from 25.3 percent  to 22.3 percent  and current adult smokers from 31.0 percent to 25.4 percent.

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.