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PANA Foundation PANAnaw Awards 2013 Case Study

THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH TOTAL WELLNESS, TOTAL WELL-BEING OF THE YOUTH Lets play ball! Time was when the prevailing norm that generates the spirit of fun and development of social skills among children is to be with other children. The toys they carry with them were just tools to facilitate imaginative play with other kids. The games they played served as venues to understand real-life situations and aid in healthy, physical development. This was the case until technological developments over the past 3 decades redefined the landscape of what parents and children all over the world would refer as the playground. From the sandbox to virtual playground While decades of technological advancement addressed the need in aiding mental activities and efficiency in carrying-out new world duties, what didnt quite catch-up was our ability to cope with the consequences of an evolving lifestyle dependent on technology such as becoming more sedentary and recluse as we began spending more of our time utilizing technology especially media-based ones including the internet, smart phones, and video games. This milieu trickled down to how todays generation of children (often dubbed as Generation Z born approximately from 1992 to present day) conduct their playtime. The norm has shifted to gadgets for toys, replacing active play with virtual interactions.

Techno-indulgence has health-related prices to pay Along with the benefits of convenience and extensive entertainment brought about by online-based media and gadgets for toys are prices to pay that are beginning to show-up in the form of health problems among Generation Z the most common of which is obesity. According to the World Health Organization data, obesity has become one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century. Globally, in 2010, the number of overweight children under the age of five is estimated to be over 42 million. Among the major factors that may cause children become overweight and obese include lack of physical activity and spending too much time on sedentary pursuits. While obesity in itself is a health-problem to contend with, it can also cause further health complications such as diabetes, heart and liver problems, and even psychological effects such low self-esteem, social awkwardness, and competency issues.

Techno-babysitting in the Philippine Setting While statistics that will pin-pointedly show an approximate figure of obesity rate among Filipino children (0-6 years) have yet to be released, the global figure of 42 million children, 35 million of which are from developing countries, is enough reason to sound the alarm here in the Philippines. Young Filipino kids are also are rapidly adopting the sedentary enjoyment of gadget-based games and online media that physical activities and social interaction are losing ground. What reinforced the shift in preference from more physical activities to video games and online activities would primarily be attributed to how Filipino parents treat gadgets and online media the new yayas to the children. What may seem as a convenient compensation for the time they cannot spend with their kids, (i.e. challenges as working parents, lack of alternatives, etc.) would on the flipside creates dire, long-term effects on total health and well-being of children. This mirrors the global trend in rising obesity among children, mainly due to lack of physical activity. The Pinoy Prescription Against Obesity While it is undeniable that the Philippines as a country isnt behind with the rest of the wired and gadget consuming world and thus is susceptible to the probable impacts on childrens total health and well-being, the good news is we have the power to help reframe the techno-lifestyle of the young population and encourage them to opt to do a more balanced set of activities that would help prevent obesity and promote total wellness and well-being among them. There are 3 influential forces that would help in encourage children to embrace a more active lifestyle in order to prevent obesity: Societal Front: Parents - The attitudes and behaviors of children towards how they should spend their time and learning about the importance of gaining health and wellness through physical activities are deeply influenced and reinforced by the parents. Department of Health (DOH) the authority operating at nationwide and community levels that will be behind the education on obesity among children and the healthy measures and lifestyles to adopt to prevent such. Educational Front: Department of Education (Dep-Ed)- creates and revises the curriculum which schools will implement in their values and physical education programs

Media Front: They serve as the chief influencers to a broad audience. The messages on the perils of obesity among children and the recommended prescriptions are translated to fit various media and its target audience. Opportunities for collaboration The World Health Organization (WHO) has released educational materials, which highlights their Global recommendations on physical activity for health which includes ideal physical activities for 5-17 year olds. The primary target audiences for these recommendations are policy-makers at national level and thus pose as an opportunity for DOH and Dep-Ed to be involved in a collaborative-type of IMC campaign.

Some questions that would help form a strong campaign against child obesity are: 1) What messages would encourage parents to stop treating gadgets and other forms of technology as their yayas and look into creative ways to spend time doing physical activities with their kids? 2) What programs (current or new) can be revitalized/designed and implemented by concerned government agencies (DOH and Dep-ED) that will educate and provide venues for children, parents, teachers, and other members of the community? 3) How do we make the simple messages of go out and have fun by playing activities with other kids and Stop treating gadgets as the new yaya and spend more active time with your children more compelling and action driven? 4) What media can be utilized effectively to send the messages? How will digital media be an effective part of the campaign? 5) What is alarming about childhood obesity? How will it impact the current generations future? The Department of Health and Department of Education are looking at having a sustainable integrated marketing communications campaign with a budget of P100 Million stretched over the next 3 years.

----------Sources: Publications 1. Assessment of Physical Activity of Some Filipino School Children Aged 9-12 Years in Selected Public and Private Schools in Metro Manila, Philippine Association for the Study of Overweight and Obesity News reports For Pinoy Parents, debunking myths on childhood obesity 30 March 2012 http://loqal.ph/home-and-living/2012/03/30/for-pinoy-parents-debunking-myths-on-childhoodobesity/ Citation/Online entries: 1. World Health Organization Global Recommendations on Physical Activity for Health. http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/pa/en/index.html Video report Busog Obesity in the Philippines Uploaded Mar.20 2012 www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5WQsYSk9T