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The Nutrition Physiology Laboratory of the Department of Science and Technology - Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI) is one of the outputs of the DOST-Grants in Aids funded R&D program titled “Healthy Aging Program for Pinoy (HAPPY) Senior Citizens”. The new laboratory showcases the synergy of four key components of human nutrition research: metabolism, physical activity, body composition, and nutrition.

The laboratory will link all four research components using advanced technologies and equipment. Data generated from the laboratory is envisioned to shed more light on understanding the human body and how nutrition and physical activity contributes to improved health, functionality and quality of life of older Filipinos. The DOST-FNRI officially launched the Nutrition Physiology Laboratory on May 24, 2022 with the theme EMBodying (Energy, Metabolism, Body composition) Nutrition: Improving health and quality of life. This was conducted using a hybrid format of virtual as well as face-to-face mode. The launching was attended by more than 200 attendees virtually.

The DOST-FNRI Director IV and Scientist IV, Dr. Imelda Angeles-Agdeppa, officially kicked off the event, highlighting the importance of integrating the different components of nutrition research in order to achieve innovative research works for the benefit of our countrymen. DOST Secretary, Hon. Fortunato T. de la Peña, DOST Secretary gave a special message with a call to take action towards meeting the demand of the demographic shift of our aging society in the next 20 years, via introducing innovative approaches and providing promotion and access to healthy aging. This was followed by a message of support from the Nutritional Biology Chair from the Wageningen University and Research, the Netherlands, Prof. Renger Witkamp who shared his insights towards the relevance of studying the relationship between nutrition, health, and quality of life as well as measuring functional end points of health in order to provide the best possible targeted nutrition, especially for older adults.

The event proceeded with an audio-visual presentation highlighting their program entitled “Healthy Aging Program for PinoY (HAPPY) Senior Citizens”. This showcased the multidisciplinary team and the different components that the program assesses - nutrition, function, anthropometric measures, biochemical measures, and geriatric assessments - in order to obtain a holistic image of the nutrition health status of the potential research participants and get a better understanding of their nutrition situation. Following this, the DOST Undersecretary for Regional Operations, USec Sancho A. Mabborang shared his congratulatory message to the team as well as his excitement on the future outputs from this project for the benefit of Filipino older adults. The team then shared a video highlighting the different equipment and facilities showcased in the laboratory.

The ribbon cutting ceremony was graced by the DOST Secretary, Hon. Fortunato T. de la Peña; Assistant Secretary for International Cooperation, Dr. Leah J. Buendia; DOST-FNRI Director IV and Scientist IV, Dr. Imelda Angeles-Agdeppa; Officer in Charge of the Office of the Deputy Director, Dr. Milflor S. Gonzales; and Officer in Charge of the Nutrition and Food Research and Development Division and Supervising Science Research Specialist, Mr. Michael E. Serafico represented by Ms. Kristine B. Nacionales, Supervising Science Research Specialist to officially inaugurate the laboratory. With the laboratory officially launched, DOST Assistant Sec. Teodoro M. Gatchalian also shared his warmest congratulations and pride in this milestone.

Partners from different institutions and organizations delivered short messages. These included Prof. Lisette de Groot, Professor, Nutrition and Aging, Wageningen University & Research; Dr. Marco Mensink, Asst. Professor in Nutrition and Health, Wageningen University & Research, Dr. Shelley Ann de la Vega, Director, Institute on Aging - UP NIH; Ms. Zenaida Velasco, National President, Nutritionist-Dietitians Association of the Philippines; Ms. Honey Loveleen Bontile, Program Head , Nutrition and Dietetics and Council of Deans and Heads of Nutrition and Dietetics Chair; Coach Jeaneth Aro, Elite Nutrition Coach, Nutrition Coach of Tokyo Olympics medalists Hidilyn Diaz, Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam, and Eumir Marcial. They all shared their sincerest congratulations in utilizing the laboratory facilities to better understand the human body and produce evidence-based programs and projects for improving nutrition, function, and quality of life, especially for the Filipino people.

The DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development, Dr. Rowena Cristina L. Guevara then officially closed the ceremony, underscoring the prioritization of the needs of Filipino senior citizens in order to achieve long, healthy, and fulfilled lives. She expressed her excitement towards future research collaborations to maximize the use of the laboratory for improved health and nutrition outcomes.

With the event officially closed, all participants were taken to view the Nutrition Physiology Laboratory, either physically or virtually. Those present virtually were able to explore the lab through virtual walk tour options to view brief descriptions of the equipment, videos of the equipment in use, and links to the equipment respective websites. Those present physically had the chance of seeing and trying out the various equipment for themselves. All attendees expressed their sincere congratulations to the team and kind words for a successful hybrid event. All these for the benefit of the Filipinos in the long term.

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