Medical Files

Search for 2015 healthy lifestyle exemplars

/ 01:22 AM February 21, 2015

Lifestyle-related, diseases like cancer, heart diseases, diabetes, lung diseases caused by smoking and several other prevalent medical problems, are killing hundreds of thousands of Filipinos annually.

Many who have these diseases and are still lucky to be alive have to contend with many limitations in their physical activities. Some may even be permanently disabled at the prime of their lives due to a stroke, heart failure, chronic obstructive lung disease like emphysema and different types of advanced cancer. The cost of keeping them alive imposes a huge toll and burden on the patients, their families and the government.


Despite advances in modern medicine, treating lifestyle-related diseases—when complications have set in already—remains a frustrating challenge to clinicians. No amount of breakthrough medicine can cure a stage 4 cancer, or a markedly enlarged failing heart which hardly beats, or lungs which have been literally destroyed by many years of smoking.

The best way to slay the multiheaded dragon, which lifestyle diseases are like, is to address its primary cause—an unhealthy lifestyle.


Modern society is filled with temptations conducive to healthy lifestyle. Transfat-laden fast-food fare, salt-rich instant foods and seasonings, remote controls and fancy devices promoting sedentariness, long working and commuting hours leaving no time for exercise, nerve-wrecking and adrenaline-surging pressures at work and at home, and the deceivingly calming effect of tobacco smoke—all these byproducts of modern living define what an unhealthy lifestyle is.


Filled with temptations

Insidiously, this kind of lifestyle ruins one’s health without one realizing it, until people unwittingly trapped in it get the shock of their lives when told by their attending physician that they have cancer, or serious heart disease, or lungs which can hardly supply oxygen and blow off carbon dioxide. In many instances, it’s too late already and beyond cure.

We need champions and advocates of a healthy lifestyle in our midst to constantly remind us of its value and to prevent many potentially serious diseases before they maim or kill us. These health advocates are exemplars who walk the talk in promoting not only a healthy lifestyle but also health-promoting behavior impacting society. They’re successful in changing the mindset of the public they serve and this change in mindset makes these people realize that their long-term health outcome depends to a major extent on the kind of lifestyle they choose to live with.

When H&L (Health & Lifestyle) magazine was born 12 years ago, one of its main missions was to encourage doctors, other healthcare professionals, and health organizations and agencies to serve as models of a healthy lifestyle. Two years ago, the medical advisory board of the magazine—comprised of who’s who in Philippine medicine—decided to recognize individuals, institutions, government and nongovernmental organizations, media entities and celebrities, and others who have effectively carried out programs that promote a specific aspect of a healthy lifestyle, which may include diet and proper nutrition, exercise and fitness, smoking cessation, relaxation and stress control, and mindset resetting to encourage positive health-promoting and health-seeking behaviors.

Exemplar awardees


For its first edition two years ago, the first exemplar awardees were:

  • Adolfo Bellosillo, MD—for Excellence in Public Health Education
  • Willie T. Ong, MD—for Excellence in Health Journalism and Public Health
  • Lanie and Ely Latuga—for Excellence in Community Service
  • Philippine Heart Association—for Excellence in Public Health Education (professional organization category)
  • National Center for Health Promotion (NCHP)—for Excellence in Health Education and Public Service
  • “Salamat Dok!” (ABS-CBN)—for Excellence in Health Education and Public Service (mass media category)


Plaques of Commendation were also given to the Manila Adventist Medical Center (MAMC), Alliance of Young Nurse Leaders and Advocates International Inc. (AYNLA), “Pinoy MD” (GMA-7), and Novartis Healthcare Philippines.

Being a biannual award, the medical advisory board of H&L is once again conducting the search for nominees for the 2nd Healthy Lifestyle Exemplar Awards.

All nominees are being pre-screened by the search committee, and only those who pass the preliminary screening will be endorsed for consideration by the board of judges for this year’s awards.

The deadline for nomination is on Feb. 23 at 5 p.m. Everyone may nominate someone, or an institution, agency, organization, media personnel and celebrities, and other entities whom they believe have positively influenced a big number of people toward any aspect of a healthy lifestyle. For questions and other inquiries, you may contact Mylene Orillo or Godfrey Santos at 8920723 local 102/112.

The awarding ceremonies will be on March 11 at One Esplanade, MOA complex in Pasay City.

The strong commercialization pushing for products and services in modern society is truly a major barrier toward a healthy lifestyle. The power of advertising branding has even put gloss on unhealthy lifestyle practices as “guiltless alternative lifestyle.”

More than ever, we need healthy lifestyle exemplars in our society. Nominate one and let them be recognized and emulated. May their tribe increase.

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TAGS: column, health and wellness, healthy lifestyles, Rafael Castillo
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