Saturday, September 18, 2004

Poverty in the Philippines


Despite the more-or-less sustained economic growth from 1985 to 1997, the poorest 20% of the population only improved their income 0.5% for every 1% growth in average income. In other words, they slipped further behind and income inequality became even more extreme.


There are now approximately 4 million (32%) preschool children who are underweight-for-age, 3 million (20%) adolescents who are underweight-for-age, and 5 million (13.2%) adults who are chronically energy deficient. Vitamin A deficiency is a serious problem, with 7% of pregnant women and 8% of infants under six months being severely deficient. Iron deficiency anemia affects 57% of infants, 51% of pregnant women, and 46% of lactating women.

The primary cause of malnutrition is the inequitable distribution of food, which is related of course to poverty. The typical Filipino diet is grossly inadequate for energy and other nutrients, causing human bodies to compensate for inadequate energy intake by utilizing protein as an energy source; the usual result is PEM. This situation is unlikely to improve as long as an estimated 28 million Filipinos are unable to buy food to meet basic nutritional requirements.

Read More and click:
Clarence Henderson's Pearl of the Orient Seas