Use Sin Tax In Health Drivesolons

By Gil C. Cabacungan[1] Philippine Daily Inquirer[2]


MANILA, PhilippinesConcerned over surveys that showed Filipinos were eating more meat and chicken and less fruit and vegetables, lawmakers have suggested that part of the revenue raised from sin taxes be used to boost a healthy lifestyle campaign.

Sen. Gregorio Honasan said data compiled by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) from national nutrition surveys conducted from 1978 to 2008 merely confirmed fears of the poor food choices made by Filipinos in the face of urbanization and changing lifestyles.

There are a lot of factors why Filipinos eat less fruits and vegetables and more meat and poultry and one of them is the mass migration to urban centers and the stress of a city lifestyle during the last three decades. Lifestyles have changed and sadly our nutrition has taken a big hit for it, said Honasan.

Honasan, vice chair of the Senate committee on health and demography, said the government should take a more active role in reminding the public about the benefits of keeping a balanced diet and active lifestyle

Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin, vice chair of the House committee on health, shared Honasans concerns as she noted that chronic diseases had alarmingly increased. She blamed this on Filipino eating habits and a growing sedentary lifestyle wherein people take a tricycle even for short distances.

Garin said the government has to step up its awareness campaign on having a healthy lifestyle and eating habits.

She proposed that part of the revenue raised from the recently approved sin tax hike, or levies on cigarettes and alcohol products, be diverted to this information campaign.

The impact of these diseases should not be underestimated. Exercise, healthy eating with the inclusion of fruits and vegetables, plus adequate sleep should be encouraged, said Garin in a text message.

NSCB Secretary General Jose Ramon Albert said his agencys report, released Dec. 30, showed that Filipinos ate an average of 58 grams of meat products a day in 2008, up 152 percent from 23 grams in 1978. Filipinos are also eating more chicken at an average of 25 grams per day in 2008, up from 7 grams in 1978.

With these observed increases, it is not surprising that increases were likewise observed in fats and oil consumption, which increased by 15.4 percent (from 13 grams per day in 1978 to 15 grams in 2008, said Albert.

In the same period, the eating of fish, which accounts for the bulk of the Filipinos diet, increased by 7.8 percent to 110 grams per day in 2008 from 102 grams in 1978.

The same report showed Filipinos eating fewer vegetables (down 24 percent to 110 grams in 2008 from 145 grams in 1978) and fruits (down 48 percent to 54 grams in 2008 from 104 grams in 1978).

Albert noted that these distinct changes in food consumption came in tandem with the rise of heart diseases as the primary cause of death in the country from 1990 to 2006.

Albert said that in the 1980s, heart disease was second to pneumonia as the main cause of mortality among Filipinos. Is this the effect of our preference for high octane food over fruits and veggies?  he asked, noting an alarming increase in cancer among the top five leading causes of death in the country.

While this may be partly an issue of better identification of cancer, it also may suggest something about our nutrition and lifestyle choices.

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Tags: Filipino food choices [4] , Gregorio Honasan [5] , health drive [6] , healthy eating habit [7] , healthy lifestyle [8] , healthy lifestyle campaign [9] , Janette Garin [10] , Sen. Gregorio Honasan [11] , sin tax law [12]

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  1. ^ Gil C. Cabacungan (
  2. ^ Philippine Daily Inquirer (
  3. ^ Digital Edition (
  4. ^ Filipino food choices (
  5. ^ Gregorio Honasan (
  6. ^ health drive (
  7. ^ healthy eating habit (
  8. ^ healthy lifestyle (
  9. ^ healthy lifestyle campaign (
  10. ^ Janette Garin (
  11. ^ Sen. Gregorio Honasan (
  12. ^ sin tax law (

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  1. Reply

    Why Is A Healthy Lifestyle Important In School? I need some ideas about Why a healthy lifestyle is important in school. I have to have an answer in less than 1000 words. Applying for college scholarship. Thanks in advance!

      • HealthNut
      • January 2, 2013

      You need a healthy lifestyle in school to concentrate on your studies. You need to be able to focus for one thing. You also need to plenty of rest, and a good diet.

    • Bob
    • January 2, 2013

    What Are Some Healthy Lifestyle Changes To Make? So I’ve started drinking more water. I drink Green, White, and Chai tea. I also bought the stainless steel water bottle, and I bike for about 20-30 minutes a day. I consider these healthy lifestyle changes. I was wondering if you could provide more suggestions along these lines.

      • HealthNut
      • January 2, 2013

      There are 5 elements in a healthy lifestyle.

      1. food
      2. exercise
      3. sleep
      4. happiness
      5. extra healthy things

      1. Food, we don’t really know that much about nutrition, we do know a blanced diet, with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables is good for you. Meat is pretty good, if it is lean and not eaten too often….ideally I might eat meat once or twice a week. A good healthy diet can include some indulgences.
      2. Exercise, you should do some. Though I don’t recommend routine exercise, cycle 2 or 3 times a week, join a social sports club, eg, tennis, go hiking on weekends, swimming is one of the best exercises for the whole body. If you vary your exercise, then you will enjoy it more and do more.
      3. Sleep. A lot of evidence says if you don’t get enough sleep you will have problems, eat more, metabolise your food differently and die young.
      4. Be happy, enjoy your life. Drink dance, eat chocolate, but not all day, everyday.
      5. Then there are all the little extras. eg, green tea (there is no such things as Chai tea….chai means tea, it is an indian word derived from the chinese word Cha, meaning tea), red wine, brocollie and beetroot, lots of things than can boost your body, ginger, garlice and hundreds of other things that you can add to your diet to make things a little better.

      Don’t obsess, don’t live by a book or a routine, just be healthy.

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