DOH: Filipinos' current health issues related to their heart and mind

Department of Health (DOH) Officer-in-Charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said that the pandemic exacerbated the already existing problems in Filipino youth's health. (Photo: DOH Philippines/Facebook)
Department of Health (DOH) Officer-in-Charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said that the pandemic exacerbated the already existing problems in Filipino youth's health. (Photo: DOH Philippines/Facebook)

The Department of Health (DOH) revealed that young Filipinos nowadays are suffering from diseases related to their hearts and minds, with many of them inflicted with mental health problems and cardiovascular diseases.

DOH Officer-in-Charge Maria Rosario Vergeire revealed that more young Filipinos are getting cardiovascular diseases, increasing their risk of strokes and heart attacks.

She said this is down to factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption, poor eating habits, and a sedentary lifestyle.

According to Vergeire, surveys show that 36 per cent of Filipinos aged 20 years old and above are obese and 20 per cent are smokers, while 50-53 per cent of those aged between 20 and 59 years old are binge drinkers. Another 40 per cent are physically inactive.

Cardiovascular diseases remain the leading causes of death in the Philippines, said the DOH, accounting for a third of deaths annually.

Meanwhile, in an interview with One News’ "Agenda" on Monday (September 26), DOH Program Management and Capacity Development Division chief Dr. Miguel Mantaring said that around 3.6 million Filipinos suffered from mental health problems during the pandemic.

Some refused to seek professional help due to various reasons like the "huwag kang maarte" (don’t be too dramatic) connotation, making the overall picture of mental health problems in the Philippines "skewed" and inaccurate.

"Because of that attitude … people feel that they don’t need to report it, they don’t need to see a professional … We don’t really get the actual numbers,” said Mantaring.

He added that the lack of data about the mental health situation in the country paints "a skewed picture" because "we are only able to track and catch … the more clinical forms", which posed a major limitation.

In addition, there has been an increase in calls to the National Center of Mental Health’s crisis hotline by more than 20,000 a year since 2020.

“So many people need professionals from our crisis hotline," said Mantaring.

Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments on politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. Follow him on Twitter at @marvs30ang for latest news and updates. The views expressed are his own.