Zinc deficiency in selected population groups determined

Zinc is an important mineral needed by the body. Its main function in our body is for growth and development, and also for proper immune function. Aside from these, it also plays a role in wound healing and normal sense of taste.

A deficiency in zinc can cause many problems because of its many functions in the body. Some symptoms of the deficiency include hair loss, growth retardation and loss of sense of taste and smell. These symptoms can vary from person to person.

Little is known about the zinc status or the magnitude of zinc deficiency in the Filipino population.

Because of this, a study was done by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST) to know the risk of zinc deficiency among the Filipino population. Serum zinc was used to determine the zinc status of the population because it is known as the best biomarker for zinc.


Urban living can make you overweight

Most people want to live in urban areas because they think it is here where they can be successful. But can urban living really make a person overweight, among other trade-offs?

Urban living means fast living. People rely on fats food for daily meals. People are always busy with work and therefore don’t have extra time for regular exercise. People rely on computers and cell phones for faster work and communication. As a result, they are mostly sedentary and lack rigorous physical activity. People often use vehicles for faster transportation, even if the destination is just a walking distance.

For these reasons, urban living can make you overweight.

Based on the 2008 National Nutrition survey (NNS) by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST), the region with the highest prevalence of overweight among adults aged 20 years old and above is the National Capital Region (NCR) or Metro Manila with 32.2 percent (%).


21 in every 100 Pinoy children underweight

In September 2000, members of the United Nations (UN) including the Philippines agreed to the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of reducing hunger and other forms of human deprivation worldwide.

Goal number one of the MDGs is to eradicate extreme hunger and poverty, wherein one of the targets is reducing in half the proportion of underweight children under 5 years old.

The Philippines’ target is to reduce the underweight prevalence of 27.3 percent in 1990 to 13.7 percent in 2015 in this age group.

The annual average reduction in underweight prevalence was 0.37 percentage points per year from 27.3 percent in 1990 to 20.6 percent in 2008.

According to the 2011 updating survey by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST), 20.2 percent of Filipino children 0 to 5 years old are underweight.


Teen Pregnancy Endangers Young Mom, Baby

Estimates from the 2008 National Demographic and Health Statistics (NDHS) of the National Statistics office (NSO) revealed that about one in every four or 26 percent of women 15-24 years old have begun childbearing.

Of the 26 percent of young mothers, nineteen percent of the births delivered have multiple medical risks due to a combination of the mother’s age, birth interval and birth order, the NDHS further revealed.

A related survey conducted in 2011 by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST) among 1,650 Filipino pregnant women showed that about 40 percent of pregnant teenagers below 15 years old and 36 percent of pregnant teenagers 15-19 years old are nutritionally-at-risk due to their gestational age.



I  first met Fr. Ted Murnane in 1985.  We were then starting the local committee for health research and development and he came representing the USC.  His presence was immediately felt during the first meeting.  His thunderous baritone voice dominated the room.  His ideas were perfect in its polished American English, logical presentation and honest opinions.

Over the years we were together in many programs – from education to ICT to microelectronics to health to R&D.  He could always be counted on to tell you whether your arguments are weak or strong and he did not sugar coat his comments.

I usually consulted him on difficult topics and he would give me the best references and the best analysis.  I then realized that he had to do a lot of research in order to give this analysis.  He was very good in using the computer and the internet.

He never read fiction; instead he focused on new developments and fresh ideas.  I remember when one of my staff finished her master’s degree from Ateneo.  She showed Fr. Ted her thesis work which she successfully defended with high honors.  Fr. Ted read it and sent it back to her with many notes on its weaknesses, strengths and how to better improve it.

When Fr. Ted give you books to read you better read it.  The next time you meet, he will certainly quiz you about it.  He always wanted people to keep on learning.

Fr. Ted was not a technical man by education but he dealt with very technical matters like microelectronics and ICT.  I remember a time when we were together in TriTech, an academe-industry cooperation project.  There was Fr. Ted, Fred Kintanar and myself and we were discussing how to develop ICT in the region.  One guy from Fairchild came to us and said, “I am very uncomfortable being in TriTech because my course is not ICT, I am an ECE.”  I said to him that he should not worry because I, myself was a ChE, far from ICT.  Fred then confessed, “I am not also an ICT guy, I am a linguist.”  (Fred was self-taught in ICT and was the software manager of NEC).  Fr. Ted then retorted, “You better not ask what my profession is.”  He was a music major.  He played a variety of instruments.  But his great love was the piano, the violin and the trumpet.  His knowledge in the technical world was all the result of reading and listening.

Whenever Fr. Ted saw me, he would come in my office and say, “I won’t be long.  I just wanted to say hello.”  Seven hours later, we were still talking, laughing and spelling his lamentation of USC.

When I was in the hospital when my kidneys failed, Fr. Ted was one of the first who visited me.  He was already advance in his prostate cancer.  Yet he took time to visit, joke around and listen to my problems.  Fr. Ted then stood up and told me, “I better hear your confession, because we do not know what will happen.”  He then gave me the holy rite of confession.

I was one of the few people Fr. Ted confided about his cancer.  He didn’t want people to know and worry about him.  He told me about his ailment because he wanted me not to worry, prepare for the worst, but always celebrate life.  He also told me that you can still work even if you are sick, which I do.

I will miss Fr. Ted.  The office is now more silent.  I miss his singing loudly the national anthem during opening activities of our projects.  I miss his sharp mind, which never gave up even to the very end of his life.  I miss the company of this honest beer drinking man.  I miss his e-mails, which came in torrents.  I miss our conversations, arguments and reflections.  I miss just being with him.

Fr. Ted I know you are in a better place with God.  You are probably arguing about education with Him.  I thank you Fr. Ted for generously sharing your life with us.  In behalf of the DOST, the PCHRD and its instrumentalities, we are honored to know you and you certainly touched our lives.  I now bid goodbye to an enlightened educator and researcher, a gifted musician, a person who expanded his talents many fold for the greater glory of God and a true human being, our champion in S&T.  Farewell Fr. Ted and God Bless.


By:  Rene Burt N. Llanto

August 31, 2012




Central Visayas Consortium for Health Research and Development 

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