Month: March 2018

Effective Meal Planning may help prevent Obesity and Chronic Illness in the Young

Embed from Getty Images

The issue of excessive weight gain is not only a growing problem of adults.  In today’s world, sedentary lifestyles have become increasingly common even in the young.  Instead of being in playgrounds or other activity areas, children mostly stay at home with their computers and tablets.  The influx of Western and instant cuisine also play a role in the diet of children.  Families are more likely seen eating in fast foods during weekends and holidays rather than enjoying home cooked meals.

With the changing lifestyle patterns also comes the increasing incidence of chronic illness such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.  Now, it is not uncommon to see many young people suffering from these illnesses as well.

The position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is that interventions be made as early as the pre-school and school age so as to prevent the onset of chronic illnesses.  This may be achieved with awareness of healthy eating practices and maintaining healthy weights for kids.

MyPlate is a visual guide originally made by the US Department of Agriculture to remind families on how much of which should be present in the feeding plates of children.  A similar device has been adapted for Filipinos to make it applicable in the local setting and is named “Pinggang Pinoy“.

In the plate graphic, half of the plate should comprise vegetables and fruits during meals.  Vegetables comprises a majority of this portion.  Children are encouraged to eat more dark-green, red and orange vegetables.  The greater in the variation and contrast in colors can also aid in attracting kids in eating vegetables.

Fruits make up the other portion of the first half in MyPlate.  Pears, oranges, berries, watermelon, peaches and raisins are some examples that can be served on to the plates of kids.  Fruit juices may also substitute during occasions but only if 100% juice is served (and not juice concentrate which contains mostly table sugar).

A quarter of the plate should comprise healthy proteins.  Recommended are healthier sources such as fish, beans and peas.

The last quarter of the plate should be filled up with grains – preferably whole grains.  As such, kids are encouraged to eat oatmeal, whole-wheat breads, tortillas or brown rice more often.

To supplement their meals, children are also encouraged to take dairy in their meals.  This may come in the form of low-fat milk, cheese, or yogurt for stronger teeth and bones.

Exercise should come in the form of play or any suitable physical activity for at least 60 minutes daily.

The way for people to adapt to healthy lifestyles that persist is to imbibe them early.  Encouraging healthy eating using MyPlate or Pinggang Pinoy is one strategy that may help ensure this.



Ogata, B. N and Hayes D.  Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Nutrition Guidance for Health Children Ages 2 to 11 Years.  Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2014-08-01, Volume 114, Issue 8, Pages 1257-1276

Circuit Training among Elderly People

Embed from Getty Images

The body changes as one ages. Some changes that are noticed would be that of elasticity of the skin leading to perceptible wrinkling. Muscles also shrink because of decrease in the size of individual muscle cells. Quality of vision, hearing and balance also start to become affected.

In terms of functioning, there are some limitations that become felt with the effects of aging.  The quality of exercise and physical activity training may help counteract these impending problems in the elderly.

Circuit exercise may be a suitable routine for certain populations of elderly people to combat the changes in their body. This exercise routine involves a series of around 10 exercises usually working different muscle groups or body parts, performed in succession, with adequate rest intervals (around 15-30 seconds) in between. The set may be repeated for one to three times.

Examples of circuit training routines may be obtained from the following: [Senior Fit Training]

An evaluation of several studies show that this type of workout routine leads to significant increases in both upper and lower body strength. Indirectly this signifies that this type of workout greatly improves the ability of elderly people in performing activities of daily life (ADLs). Lean body fat values appear to decrease but the effect was not significant. This was also true with regards to oxygen capacity which is responsible for the length of time a person is able to withstand cardiovascular activity without getting tired or exhausted.

The study also suggests that gains may be more visible if a person engages in the programs for long periods of time rather than short ones.

Live life to the fullest.  Engage in circuit training activities the soonest possible time.


Buch, AB, et al. Circuit Resistance Training is an Effective Means to Enhance Muscle Strength in Older and Middle-Aged Adults. Ageing Research Reviews, 2017-08-01, Volume 37, Pages 16-27.