Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte presented the city’s efforts to promote healthy food in schools and communities during the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) China and the Chinese Government’s Healthy Food City Forum in Chengdu last week.

Among the strategies that the Mayor presented are the reconstitution of the Quezon City Nutrition Committee, implementation of the Philippines’ first Healthy Public Food Procurement Policy (HPFPP), enactment of the QC Healthy Diet in Schools initiative in accordance with City Ordinance 2846-2019 and Department of Education (DepEd) Order No. 13, and the establishment of vegetable farms in schools through DepEd Memorandum 223.

“Prioritizing the health and nutrition of our citizens, especially our youth and school children, has led us to implement these evidence-based policies. These efforts are underpinned by political will to innovate and reshape norms, grounded in a solid evidence base, and carried out through transparent and inclusive policy-making,” Mayor Joy Belmonte said in her virtual presentation.

The city’s Nutrition Committee is a multi-sectoral body dedicated to addressing nutrition-related challenges and providing strategies for the creation of innovative and inclusive nutrition programs.

HPFPP is the city’s commitment to end spending public funds on unhealthy food. Meals distributed in city-run hospitals, institutions, and events are well-balanced, nutritious food like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and should comply with the QC Nutrition Standards.

Moreover, the QC Healthy Diet in Schools initiative prohibits the sale and promotion of unhealthy food in learning institutions.

The establishment of vegetable farms, further, ensures schools have a steady supply of nutritious food.

The symposium was attended by health administrative departments in China, various city government officials in Asia, and community leaders across the world.

“We have received numerous commendations from the participants, who said that city governments in China should learn from Quezon City’s example. This is a testament that Quezon City’s initiative towards a healthier and more sustainable city is on the right track,” Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability Department Head Andrea Villaroman said.