Firm supports DOH drive to promote iodized saltBy Theresa S. Samaniego
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Despite its size, it packs a powerful wallop in combating the debilitating effects of iodine deficiency.
Iodized salt has been pushed by the Philippine government since the 1990s as the simplest yet most potent solution to iodine deficiency disorder, to the point of enacting a law mandating that all salt produced and sold in the market should be iodized.
Salinas Corp., according to its business development manager Glenn John C. Khonghun, was among those companies that participated in the salt iodization program known as Fidel in 1993, during which the advocacy was conducted on a national scale.
At that time, the Department of Health, with the support of Salinas Corp. and several other concerned groups and stakeholders, was able to inform and educate mothers in hospitals, health centers and clinics on the benefits of using iodized salt, Khonghun recalled.
Salinas took upon itself the cause of finding ways to better implement the iodized salt program as part of its corporate social responsibility activities.
“The challenge then was how to institutionalize a social change, a basic in any social marketing effort… Through the government leadership, local government units who embraced the advocacy to use iodized salt were given incentives and recognition, which eventually helped propel the adoption of the campaign,” Khonghun said in an interview with the Inquirer.
The hype of the ’90s for iodized salt may have since died down. But the fact remains that it continues to be a good source of iodine, an essential micronutrient needed by the body for the thyroid gland to properly function and produce enough hormones.
Alarmingly more prevalent
It also remains a fact that iodine deficiency continues to be alarmingly more prevalent in pregnant and lactating women, according to Khonghun.
“Children who were born of mothers with iodine deficiency are most affected. In cases where iodine was absent in the early part of infancy, the disorder can be irreversible,” he said.
Iodine deficiency (meaning the thyroid gland is enlarged and insufficient hormones are produced) commonly results in a goiter, deaf-mutism, squint, difficulty in standing or walking normally, and stunting of the limbs. It may likewise result in physical and mental abnormalities that may range from mild to severe, such as impaired growth, mental retardation or low IQ.
The disorder is the single most common cause of preventable mental retardation and brain damage in the world.
Iodine thus plays a crucial role in a person’s diet. It aids in the proper development of the brain and the body and triggers the production of hormones necessary for overall mental and physical development. Specifically, iodine triggers the thyroid gland to produce thyroxine, a hormone found in the brain that is responsible for the body’s growth and development, Khonghun explained.
This is why Salinas Corp. has continued its partnership with the DOH—a relationship that will mark the 20th year by 2013.
“We renewed our commitment to the health programs of the DOH in 2005, upon the declaration of PP 958 [Decade of Healthy Lifestyle], which serves as an expansion of the health campaign for iodized salt,” Khonghun said.
And Salinas Corp. has since done its share through the sponsorship of activities and events that promote and advocates regular exercise, balanced nutrition and stress management as part of a balanced and healthy lifestyle.
“This is our way of augmenting the government’s resources, by doing our part and giving back to society,” Khonghun said.
Other health products
While Salinas Corp.’s main product is salt, its other products are likewise related to health and wellness. “We also have the Nigari mineral supplement drop that aids in the prevention of complications arising from pregnancy… This is also aligned with the DOH’s goal of reducing infant mortality and improving maternal health care,” Khonghun said.
Nigari, a mineral supplement particularly rich in macro and trace minerals needed for optimum health and nutrition, contains magnesium, sulfates, chlorides, potassium and more than 40 trace elements like selenium, boron, manganese and zinc.
“It helps improve an individual’s energy and stamina. It also boosts one’s immunity and resistance against sickness. More importantly, it helps prevent lifestyle-related diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, cancer, and kidney stones, among others,” Khonghun said.
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