With too many myths and misinformation online, Filipinos need to improve their knowledge of nutrition to make better choices for their health.
In a general nutrition knowledge quiz conducted by premiere global nutrition company Herbalife Nutrition, only 19% of Filipino consumers got 50% of the answers correct. The Philippines’ score was lower than the Asia Pacific (APAC) average of 23%.
The quiz was administered as part of Herbalife Nutrition’s Asia Pacific Nutrition Myths Survey 2020, which was conducted in March with 5,500 respondents from Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. To test the nutrition knowledge of the survey participants, the quiz included a total of 48 “True or False” questions spanning nine nutrition areas – general nutrition, protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, caffeine, weight management and breakfast.
“The results of the quiz and the survey show that there is a significant nutrition knowledge gap among Filipinos. We hope to help close the gap to empower them with the nutrition knowledge they need to make better nutrition choices,” said Sridhar Rajagopalan, Senior Director, Sub-Region Head, and General Manager of Herbalife Nutrition Philippines.
Only 7% among those surveyed said that they were extremely confident about their nutrition knowledge. Fifty-four percent claimed that they were only somewhat well-informed.
Filipino consumers, however, expressed that they believe in the importance of balanced nutrition. It is among the top three nutrition advice that they were most interested in along with how to improve ailment/condition through nutrition and managing weight through nutrition.
“This is a good sign, so the next step is helping them achieve this,” Rajagopalan said.
What Filipinos Got Right and Wrong About Nutrition Knowledge
Majority of the Filipino respondents (85%) falsely believe that one needs sufficient calcium intake at any age to optimize peak bone mass for bone health.
“Our peak bone mass (max bone size and strength) is dependent on calcium intake and reaches its peak by age 30. However, sufficient calcium intake throughout life can reduce the risk of osteoporosis,” Rajagopalan said.
When it comes to fats, 68% got it right that fats provide the body with energy but only 42% correctly believed that it helps the body absorb vitamins.
80% correctly said that exercise helps the body rebuild muscles and increase lean muscles. However, 51% falsely believe that protein powder is not a healthy source of protein as compared to protein found in natural foods.
“Protein powder can be as good as protein from natural foods if derived from high-quality sources. For instance, soy protein from soybeans is a complete protein, providing a full range of nine essential amino acids for the body’s nutrition requirements,” Rajagopalan added.
94% of the Filipino consumers were right in their belief that fruits and Vitamin C supplements can help boost immunity and resistance to infection. Among the APAC respondents, they were the highest in this belief.
Online Myths and Misinformation: Top Barrier to Gaining Accurate Nutrition Knowledge
While 47% of Filipino consumers believed that it is extremely important to be educated with proper and accurate nutrition knowledge, they also said that too much misinformation and myths online prevent them from gaining accurate nutrition knowledge (39%).
The other top barriers were lack of information from government websites and health authorities (22%) and the lack of information from healthcare professionals (17%).