Nutrition is important to the entire life cycle but nutrition has the most impact in the early years. Poor nutrition during childhood can affect both the physical and mental development of the individual and in the later years it can even affect their capacity and performance.
Good nutrition is most often not achieved among children. Nutrition is multi-faceted and multi-dimensional that there are many factors that may affect the total well-being of children. Aside from being prone to eating unhealthy food and drinks, children today are also inclined to live a sedentary lifestyle which is commonly found in both developed and developing countries. Sedentary activities include sitting, watching television, playing video games and computer use for much of the day with little or no vigorous physical exercise. Such unhealthy practices can lead to overweight and obesity.
Overweight and obesity is one of the prevalent nutritional problems of Filipino children aside from protein-energy malnutrition, iron deficiency anemia, vitamin A deficiency disorders and iodine deficiency disorders. Overweight and obesity can lead to serious heart problems and diabetes at a young age which could have serious health, economic and social implications in adulthood. Based on the 7th National Nutrition Survey conducted in 2008 by the Food and Nutrition Institute (FNRI), about 2 out of 10 Filipino children are overweight. And over the years, the numbers of overweight children continue to rise. According to Marilou R. Enteria, Nutrition Officer of the National Nutrition Council (NNC), vigilance should be exercised in preventing an increase in overnutrition since the condition increases the risk to diet-related diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus and cancers in the later years of life.
Embedded in its commitment to outdoor play and sports, Alaska Milk Corporation encourages both children and adults to engage into physical activities through its various outdoor play and sports programs. Alaska believes that the nutritional benefits of drinking milk and outdoor play and sports greatly contribute to the formation of well-rounded individuals.
To help inspire children and adults to step up into a healthy and active lifestyle, Alaska headlined the staging of this year’s Alaska Ironkids and Ironman 70.3 Philippines triathlon events held last August 3 and 4, 2013 in Lapu Lapu City, Mactan Island, Cebu.
Alaska Ironkids Philippines
Alaska IronKids Philippines triathlon started out as a Sunday fun run for children but in just a short time, it quickly developed into a national sporting event that has nurtured and developed young athletes. Considered as the youth version of the prestigious international triathlon event, Ironman, Alaska Ironkids is now on its fourth year and is attracting more and more participants not only in the Philippines but in other countries as well.
More than 200 young and aspiring triathletes trooped to Shangri-La Resort and Spa Mactan for the annual Alaska Ironkids triathlon. The children may have come from different parts of the world but they all share a common goal – to conquer the Ironkids race course. Finishing the Ironkids race course, which comprised of a strenuous 300 meter swim, 10 kilometer bike ride and a 2 kilometer run, is no easy feat for a child living a sedentary lifestyle. And so to fulfill their dreams of becoming a triathlete, the children have learned that victory does not come with few sacrifices. They have learned and appreciated the rewards of trading off few of life’s little pleasures and took it upon themselves to avoid eating junk foods, spending long hours playing video games and hanging out in malls, and sleeping late.
13-year old Arno Baetz who placed first among the 13 to 14-year-olds captured the realities of maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle. “I don’t get to see my friends. I don’t get to sleep late anymore. No more video games, junk food. It’s hard to control myself sometimes but every time I crave junk food, I would say to myself, that’s going to affect you in the race. The moment I think of sleeping late, I would say to myself, you won’t be able to train as you should and it will eventually affect your performance.”
With determination, hard work and discipline, the children were able to overhaul the lures of unhealthy habits and formed a pact within themselves to improve their overall condition. Proper nutrition and solid support from their parents were key in raising an Alaska Ironkid – one that is healthy, active and strong-willed.
Over the years, Alaska Ironkids has laso become a family affair. The sporting event has become a perfect outdoor bonding activity where you see parents, grandparents, siblings and other relatives and friends converging and cheering for the young athletes.
Alaska Ironkids triathlon is not merely about winning. More than the medals, it’s about taking an active participation towards a healthy and active lifestyle and enjoying it all at the same time. Fred Uytengsu, President and CEO of Alaska Milk Corporation, said competition was not the focus of Ironkids. “This is all about participation and enjoying yourself. If we could give a prize for the child with the biggest smile then that would be first place. So kids, go out there and have a good time,” said Uytengsu to the children before the start of the race.
Ironman 70.3 Philippines
Ironman 70.3 Philippines is one of the long distance triathlon races organized by the World Triathlon Organization (WTC). It consists of 1.9 kilometer swim, 90 kilometer bike and 21 kilometer run races in that order without break. Considered as the premiere triathlon event in the Asia Pacific region, Ironman 70.3 Philippines draws a huge local and international field of athletes, sports enthusiasts and celebrities year after year.
Now on its fifth edition, Alaska Milk Corporation has consistently supported Ironman 70.3 Philippines. As more and more people seek a healthier and active lifestyle, triathlon is well positioned to attract many participants and spectators.
The number of participants this year reached more than 2,000 from 35 countries, validating the fact that, indeed, Ironman 70.3 Philippines has carved its niche as attraction for triathletes all over the world. In fact, the slots to the race were sold out after four days and there were 700 more on the waiting list to join the event.
Hundreds of thousands spectators lined up at the streets of Lapu Lapu City to witness the triathlon event which provided the best of life’s unseen drama as it unfold during the grueling race of stamina, endurance and mental toughness. Droves of people were seen waiving and cheering the participants as they trail the Ironman race course. From a cancer survivor to a one-legged triathlete and persons with disabilities, Ironman triathletes have drawn many inspiring stories. For most of the participants, the race has become more of a personal advocacy on health and fitness.
Showing remarkable performance in this year’s Ironman 70.3 race are members of the Alaska Team TBB Philippines. Team TBB Philippines is a group professional of triathletes which Alaska Milk Corporation supports as it provide grassroots training program for developing young Filipino athletes who are determined to pursue their passion for the sport. After years of patience and determination, the team’s hard work is bearing fruits of their hard labor. In fact, two of their Filipino athletes – Banjo Norte and Jenny Rose Guerrero dished out strong efforts to steal the thunder from their more experienced counterparts.
Norte, a 20-year old boy from the province of Carmen, Cagayan de Oro, pulled the rug from his more heralded opponents by zooming to the top of the Filipino Elite Men’s Division. “I’m happy to win my first Ironman 70.3 race, it’s an unforgettable experience,” said teary-eyed Norte.
Equally impressive was Guerrero, who has transitioned from a Southeast Asian Games swimming silver medal winner to an elite runner in Ironman 70.3. Making the team for just less than a year now, Guerrero wound up a solid second in the Filipino Elite Women’s Division. “It was a hard race but I’m happy to finish second, “ said Guerrero, who posted the fastest time in the swim leg of all Filipino women competitors.
Indeed, the triathletes who participated in this year’s Alaska Ironkids and Ironman 70.3 Philippines triathlon races provided the much needed inspiration for children and adults to continue fulfilling their dreams. For children to start unlocking their potential and for adults to realize that it’s never too late to achieve something that they have been wanting all their life. And it all starts by stepping up to challenge of achieving a healthy and active lifestyle. Alaska firmly believes that proper nutrition and outdoor play and sports are essential for the formation of well-rounded individuals.
Casting a Giant Shadow
Overall, the Alaska Ironkids and Ironman 70.3 Philippine triathlon races were a resounding success as evidenced by the huge turnout of participants and spectators including the big news it created across all media platforms.
The national and provincial media covered by TV, print, radio and digital press provided huge amount of free media values to Alaska Milk Corporation. Stories on Alaska Ironkids and Ironman 70.3 triathlon races landed in the front page of the leading broadsheets in the country. Leading television and radio networks also aired their coverage of the event as part of their news and lifestyle programs.
News about the event was even amplified in the digital media through online correspondents, mostly health and sports enthusiasts, who posted live updates and stories in their blogsites, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts. Alaska Sports Hub, the digital arm of Alaska’s outdoor play and sports program, led in the digital amplification as it became the main news source of other online groups throughout the course of the race.
Alaska merchandising materials were prominently displayed in the race venues. Streamers, banners, buntings, 3D logo installations were all displayed along the national road of Lapu Lapu City and inside Shangri-La Mactan. Alaska on-ground activations provided milk sampling and fun activities both for Ironkids and Ironman participants and spectators.
All these efforts greatly contributed in spreading the inspiration to many children and adults across the country. Alaska’s outdoor play and sports programs are a constant reminder that being healthy is best achieved with proper nutrition and living an active life.
For more information, please visit Alaska’s corporate website www.alaskamilk.com, the official Alaska Ironkids website, www.ironkidsphil.com, and the official Ironman 70.3 Philippines website www.ironman703phil.com. Follow us on Twitter at ALASKASportsHub.