Nutrient adequacy and food group consumption of Filipino novices and religious sisters over a nine month period.Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2008; 17(4):566-72.AP
Rice is commonly consumed in the Philippines; however the contribution of other foods to the diet is not well defined. Our aim was to determine the nutrient intake and food group intake of Philippine nuns and compare their intakes to the current estimated average requirements (EAR), and food-based recommendations, respectively, and assess any differences in nutrient adequacy and energy intakes between body mass index (BMI) categories. Body weight was assessed at baseline and at nine months; three-day weighed food intakes were recorded once every fortnight (n=187). At baseline, the mean (SD) age and BMI of the women was: 25.0 (4.6) years and 21.8 (17.3) kg/m2, respectively. Over the nine months, women with an underweight (n=46;<18.5 kg/m2) and acceptable BMI (n=132; 18.5-25 kg/m2) lost 5.0 kg (p=0.005) and 1.5 kg (p=0.047), respectively, whereas overweight women maintained their weight. Irrespective of BMI, 98% of women consumed less than the adequate intake for calcium, and no one met the folate EAR. The intake of all food groups (e.g., rice, vegetables, fruit, meat, dairy) was lower than food-based recommendations. It is evident that the nutrient density of the Philippine diet is poor. In order to meet nutrient requirements, it is recommended that all women increase intake of fruits, vegetables, fish, meat and dairy products, to reduce risk of micronutrient deficiencies. For the overweight women, these nutrient dense foods also are recommended, however it is important that they be substituted for energy dense foods to promote weight loss and prevent weight gain.