HEALTHY LYF:Fighting the Diet Shift

Aqiva partners with moms to help ensure proper nutrition for their children.

Every mom has her own story when it comes to feeding her child. With mealtimes becoming a common and daily struggle, moms have learned to cope with this problem in different ways. Some moms resort to bribing, giving treats or gifts whenever their child finishes his lunch. Other moms would tend to transform into “monster moms”, not yielding to their child’s refusal to eat. While others just give in, thinking that eating something unhealthy is better than not eating at all.

The Threat of the “Diet Shift”

Children are easily tempted by unhealthy food because to them, these foods seem to be more fun and exciting to eat, and taste better because of its flavors, colors and textures. This desire for unhealthy food heightens at age 4-7, as children start to make their own choices, and are able to voice out what they want. This is when the threat of the Diet Shift starts - the phase when the child may begin to prefer unhealthy food, or food that do not contain the right nutrients children need to keep their growth and development on track.

Fighting Diet Shift

Wyeth Nutrition’s AQIVA recognizes this problem, and has partnered with moms to help them secure their children’s health and nutrition, especially during the Diet Shift phase. Recently, Aqiva launched “Food Talk”, an event that helped educate mothers about the threat of the Diet Shift, and provided them with empowering solutions for them to conquer this phase.

The mom-to-mom discussions on parenting concerns and health tips for their children were led by celebrity mom and TV host Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski. On her own experience with her children on Diet Shift, Mikee shared, “I have three boys, and my youngest, Renzo, is four years old. I noticed that Renzo is starting to prefer unhealthy food staples such as French fries and ice cream. I know people expect me to know how to teach Renzo to eat healthy because I’ve already experienced this with my other two boys. But the truth is, it’s not easy. It’s always a different challenge with each kid when it comes to mealtimes.”

Child and health experts also shed light on the questions of moms and guests regarding the cause, threats, and ways of dealing with the Diet Shift. Dr. Bernadette Benitez, a Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics Specialist who currently serves as the Medical Director of Wyeth Nutrition Philippines, and a consultant the Asian Hospital, Medical Center in Alabang, and Makati Medical Center, talked about how real the Diet Shift is, citing reasons and the usual age when it occurs. Ms. Luz Callanta, Nutrition Expert and Lecturer, discussed the nutrients commonly at-risk during the Diet Shift phase given the child’s poor nutritional intake, and the importance of these nutrients in the child’s growth and development.

“It is normal for a child to go through a Diet Shift, as experimenting with new food, and developing tastes for new food, are all part of growing up. The problem is when the child gets exposed to more types of unhealthy food, and would start to prefer these over other food that are ideal for his age. This usually heightens at age 4, when he starts tasting sugary snacks from classmates, and begins craving for fried and crunchy food from the malls, etc. This is when parents should start monitoring their child’s intake of unhealthy food, and continue teaching them to eat healthy.” explained Dr. Benitez.

In a recent study done by Dr. Emilie Flores on the dietary characteristics of Filipino children, ages 1-6 years old from NCR, it is alarming to know that only 20% consumed fruits & vegetable at least once a day, and meet the minimum acceptable diet standards based on the WHO indicators. Also, only a third received adequate amount of complementary & iron-rich foods. It is very unfortunate that this inadequacy in nutrient intake happens at the crucial age of a child’s development.

“Proper nutrition is needed, especially during the child’s growth and development years. This is when he needs most of the vitamins and nutrients, at the right levels. Unfortunately, this is the same time that the threat of the Diet Shift strikes, and gaps in nutrition may occur. It is essential at this stage to supplement at-risk nutrients in the child’s diet and nutrition,” says Ms. Callanta.

During the event, mothers realized that to teach children how to eat healthy, they must understand why the unhealthy food appeal to them in the first place. This is where Celebrity Chef Jackie Laudico of Bistro Filipino helped in teaching guests how to prepare their healthy meals that kids will enjoy. As a mom, she knows the importance of styling healthy food to make it more appealing. She always plays around with three main elements--color, shape and texture-- when preparing meals for children. She showcased her techniques, and guests even had a hands-on experience in preparing one of her kid-friendly dishes. “The best way to make children try healthy dishes is to make them interested in it. The food’s visual appeal helps in getting their attention, and eventually they would be willing to taste the healthy snack.” shared Chef Laudico.

AQIVA: Promoting Fun Ways to Healthy Eating

“Aqiva proudly takes on the advocacy of raising healthy children through healthy eating habits and proper nutrition. We want to help moms instill the importance and value of healthy eating in their children, and at the same time, we want children to enjoy their healthy meals--to actually like what they eat,” said AQIVA Senior Product Manager Carlo de la Paz.

AQIVA helps supplement nutrients which may be at-risk or inadequate in a child’s diet. Formulated with A.Q.I. (Adequate, Quality and Important) Nutrients, AQIVA is packed with 40 ingredients including 25 essential nutrients, scientifically designed to support the child’s nutrition as parents teach them healthy eating habits, especially during the Diet Shift phase.

AQIVA’s mission does not only stop in providing nutritional supplementation to children, but also extends to creating awareness and spreading information on teaching mothers how to help their child learn healthy eating habits, to fight the Diet Shift.

“Mothers need to be creative when it comes to their children’s nutrition. There should be no shortcuts and they should not only focus on making meal times healthy but also fun and enjoyable to the kids,” shared Dr. Benitez.

Mikee added, “I make sure that I supplement the at-risk nutrients Renzo needs. I don’t want to sneak around concealing vegetables in his food. Instead, I want him to enjoy his healthy meals by using fruits and vegetables to create fun and appealing meal experiences.”

For more information on Aqiva, parents may call the Wyeth Careline at 81-WYETH (81-99384) for Metro Manila, and 1-800-10-884-2222 (toll-free) for provinces. Parents may also log on to

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