CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- Government officials and private sector members will be holding a grand march this Monday in line with the National Healthy Lifestyle (HL) Month commemoration.

Department of Health (DOH) Regional Director Rio Magpantay said the event aims to promote healthy lifestyles and drum beat local awareness among people to take care of their health.

Magapantay said the activity will also be a revitalized advocacy campaign for a healthy lifestyle dubbed as “HL to the MAX.”

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“This campaign is the frontrunner of the DOH programs geared towards the prevention of non-communicable diseases, mostly heart related diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes. Chronic diseases claim 35 million lives every year, and the leading causes of death worldwide. Men and women are affected almost equally and a quarter of all chronic disease deaths occur in people under 60 years old,” Magpantay said.

Through this campaign, the DOH aims to raise people’s consciousness on the different risk factors developing communicable diseases, motivate people to adapt and maintain a healthy lifestyle through counseling and treatment intervention programs, and encourage stakeholders such as local government executives, business and others to provide Filipinos with environments supportive of healthy lifestyle.

The healthy lifestyle campaign will focus on the prevention of risk factors that give rise to the incidence of four main chronic diseases that affect all members of the family – from newborn to the elderly.

The Healthy Habits include: not smoking (Huwag Manigarilyo); don’t drink alcohol (Iwas Alak); no to illegal drugs (Talo ka sa Droga); eat low fat, low salt, high fiber diet (Wastong Pagkain); prevent hypertension (Bantay Presyon); do physical activity (Katawang Aktibo) and manage stress (Bawas Stress).

In Central Luzon, the DOH-Center for Health Development will lead this massive campaign.

For a start, the department has formed a coalition -- the Health and Lifestyle Organization (Halo), which is composed of different regional government agencies in Central Luzon. These agencies will see to it that healthy lifestyle programs will be instituted in their respective offices.

Also, for the whole month of February, which also Heart Month, the DOH will conduct activities related to healthy lifestyle with a kick-off activity on Monday dubbed as “Walk for a Cause.” (IOF)