Senate Bill No. 673: Menu Nutritional Information Act

“The State shall protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness among them” – Section 15, Article 2,1987 Philippine Constitution.

While the number of foodies is growing with the number of must-try eating establishments around the country, we are confronted with the challenge of eating healthy and balanced diets. And though the love of food is an integral part of the Filipino identity, we must do our part in battling the health concerns that plague our society.

In the Philippines, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of mortality, accounting for 30.2% of deaths among Filipinos in 2003 according to a report from the Department of Health (DOH).

In addition, the risk for noncommunicable diseases increases, with increases in body mass index. The World Health Organization (WHO) expects that the percentage of Filipino obese men over thirty will increase from 23% of the population in 2005 to 24% in 2015, while the rate for women will increase from 34% in 2005 to 44% in 2015.

The WHO also noted that 80% of premature heart disease, stroke, and type two diabetes and 40% of cancers can be prevented through a healthy diet.

While we are well aware of the nutritional content of the food we consume from supermarkets, Filipinos are left in the dark when eating out, lacking easily accessible information to make informed choices when eating in restaurants. There are abundant data to show that people who eat at fast food establishments consume more calories and miss out on the more nutrient rich food groups. Consumers are unaware of the calorie and nutritional content of their choices and this leads to an unhealthy eating pattern.

Nutrient content information provided at the time of food selection in food service establishments would enable consumers to make more informed, healthier choices and can be expected to reduce obesity and the many health problems which obesity causes.

Provision of calorie and nutrient information on menu and menu boards is another way to accomplish the mandate of the Constitution. The consuming public is unable to make an informed choice as to which menu item is more nutritious as opposed to others in a food service establishment.

This bill seeks to address the problems of obesity, improper nutrition and the diseases they cause by providing consumers with relevant information so they may make better food choices.

In view of the foregoing, the passage of this bill is earnestly sought.


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