Solon: Health in the home

Pio Solon

MY GRANDFATHER, Florentino Solon, passed away at the age of 88 this past week. He lived a full life, having served in the fields of Public Health and Nutrition, and was instrumental in forming the backbone of a lot of nutrition and health policy that are still in effect during this day. When he was mayor of Cebu City, he also produced several infrastructure projects like the EcoTech building, the sidewalk that spans Gorordo Avenue, all the way to Marco Polo Plaza Cebu, and several bridges in the mountain barangays. A lot of what I know in health and community comes from my Papalols. He taught me to keep things simple and that pursuing good health can be effectively done from the home.

Here are some ways to achieve good health and nutrition at home.

Malunggay needs to be in every ‘balay’

Papalols was one of the first people to tout the efficacy of malunggay as a superfood and shared this knowledge to the nutrition world back in the ’70s. Moringa Olifera, the scientific term, is now being sold in countries as a health supplement in powdered form. In one of his projects in rural Africa, when Moringa was used as a food source for children, health outcomes improved while malnutrition decreased.

Movement and exercise can be done at home

This is my contribution to health at home. No matter how small your space may be, there is always a way to exercise. Chores are one way, so are simple movements like raising your hands up and down, walking the stairs, doing squats and even running in place. When done consistently, these movements can improve your fitness levels and longevity.

There are low-cost ways to improve health and nutrition

Okra, Alugbati, Malunggay, Kangkong, Kalabasa, Galunggong, coconut water among others, are all low-cost food options that are nutritious and good for you. We often think of being healthy as a privileged state, but with enough knowledge and diligence, our native vegetables and fruits are actually just as or even may be more nutritious as some supplements.

Healthcare systems should have a stronger prevention component

Not just during the pandemic but across a long-term framework. If our healthcare systems across multiple agencies of government worked in prevention, our health outcomes as a community would surely improve and our healthcare sector would not be swamped by lifestyle diseases that are easily preventable by good nutrition and exercise.

I am so thankful for the guidance my grandfather, Dr. Florentino Solon, had in my life’s mission and purpose. He is gone but his vision and leadership lives on in the public health sectors he helped develop.