The food consumption survey (FCS) conducted by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST) in 2008 showed that the main source of vitamin C in the diet of Filipinos is from vegetables.
Vegetables contribute 34-53 percent of the vitamin C intake of the population, except for preschool schoolchildren, while fruits contribute only about 19-29 percent.
The survey also showed that for adults, the elderly, and lactating women, more than 50 percent of their vitamin C intake comes from vegetables.
For adolescents and pregnant women, vitamin C intake from vegetables contribute 42.2 and 41.7 percent, respectively.
Children have lower vitamin C intake from vegetables, contributing 34.6 percent to diets of 6-12 year-old children and only 17.2 percent to 6 months to 5 year-old children.
The bulk of vitamin C intake of preschool-age children comes from milk and its products, contributing 33.3 percent.
However, no more than 30 percent of the population met the estimated average requirement (EAR) which is 80 percent of the recommended intake for vitamin C. Only 3 in every 10 households met the EAR.
Furthermore, the FCS showed that vegetable consumption is on the downtrend over the years.
Vegetable consumption has decreased from an average per capita vegetable intake of 145 grams in 1978 to 110 grams in 2008.
Vitamin C-rich vegetables include leafy greens like malunggay, ampalaya, petsay, saluyot as well as red and green pepper, sitsaro and raw cabbage.
The FCS is a component of the 7th National Nutrition Survey (NNS) conducted every 5 years to update the nutritional status of Filipinos.
The results call for a more aggressive promotion and advocacy of vegetables consumption among the public, especially that these are the main sources of vitamin C and other vitamins and minerals.
Backyard or home gardening should be further encouraged to increase food security at the household level.
The government should also provide support to local vegetable producers to increase supply and help sustain or reduce price of vegetables.
For more information on food and nutrition, contact: Dr. Mario V. Capanzana, Director, Food and Nutrition Research Institute, Department of Science and Technology, General Santos Avenue, Bicutan, Taguig City; Tel/Fax Num: 8372934 and 8373164; email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org; FNRI-DOST website: http://www.fnri.dost.gov.ph. (FNRI-DOST S & T Media Service: Press Release – CHARINA A. JAVIER)