Philippines DOH Dances to Healthy Living

June 4, 2012

PHILIPPINES –  The Department of Health (DOH) of the Philippines pulled an entertainment surprise in front of the usual Saturday night crowd (June 2) at a bustling Makati City mall in the form of  flash mob.

A group of men and women, young and old, began swaying and rollicking to a medley of upbeat songs in a six-minute dance routine in the open space fronting a strip of cafes, bars and restaurants at Greenbelt 3—a most appropriate spot to remind patrons to be conscious of their health and watch what they eat and drink.

The mob dance was designed to advance exercise as a part of the Filipino lifestyle to combat the top killer noncommunicable diseases such as stroke, cancer and heart attack.

Assistant Health Secretary Enrique Tayag said the flash mob called “Dance for Life” was a symbolic launch of the DOH campaign promoting exercise as a main component to healthy living, which includes avoiding smoking and eating right.

The event had over 200 participants from all walks of life clad in their typical, comfortable outfit—short dresses, jeans and sneakers, shorts and sweaters. None of the participants donned gym attire. According to Tayag, they want people to know that they don’t need to enroll in a gym club or any sports facility to exercise.

“We want to tell them that as long as there is music, you can dance and that is a form of exercise,” he said.

Tayag, along with the participants—most of whom are members of a fitness club in Metro Manila and employees of the DOH—danced in sync to Earth, Wind and Fire’s “September,” Charice Pempengco’s “Louder,” Jessie J’s “Dirty Dancing in the Moonlight” and J.Lo’s “Dance Again.”

DOH partnered with Fitness First Philippines to come up with the “flash mob,” which is a popular attention-grabbing stunt in western countries to entertain, lampoon or create awareness. He added that employing a flash mob to get the health agency’s message across was a good idea to pique the people’s interest. The health department decided to schedule the event for a Saturday because many people are at the mall, he said.

“We want people to know the benefits of exercising as a lifestyle option to combat noncommunicable diseases (NCDs),” he said, adding that the DOH will bring its “Dance for Life” campaign to schools, offices and government agencies across the country.

In the Philippines, NCDs or lifestyle-related diseases are the top leading causes of death, a trend that the DOH wants to curb. These include cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease and diabetes. These diseases are linked to four “most common but preventable” risk factors: Smoking, unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity and alcohol use.

“What we did during the flash mob were just snippets of the full dance routines that we will be launching nationwide. We will roll out complete and more intense routines that people can follow on a regular basis,” he said.


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