Malnutrition in the Philippines Costs Billions Annually

In a recent report from an international non-government organization known as Save the Children, it revealed that the Philippines loses billions each year brought by malnutrition.

According to the report which was entitled as “Cost of Hunger: Philippines”,malnutrition in this country has ended in childhood stunning, being the most widespread kind of understanding which has lasting effects on the growth and development of a child.

The report claimed that children who were underdeveloped in the first couple of years of their lives tend to drop out in schools and become a repeater in grade levels.

The result from this report is that members of the labor force who experienced childhood stunting are those in the lower income levels. Moreover, child deaths result in absolute loss of income not only for the family but for the country as well.

The report revealed that looking back in the statistics gathered in 2013, education and productivity losses caused by childhood stunting reached P328 billion or almost 3% of the year’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The report claimed that the said enormous lost was due to the following, to wit:

  •  Approximately P166.5 billion worth of lost income resulted from lower level of education by the labor force who suffered childhood stunting.
  • Some more P160 billion worth of lost from productivity resulted from premature deaths among children who would have been members of our current labor force.
  • Some P1.23 billion worth of lost from additional education costs to cover grade level repetitions linked to childhood stunting

In comparison, from 2013 to 2015, a significant jump from 30.3 % to 33.4% in childhood stunting among Filipino children was noted.

According to the Save the Children Philippines’ country director, Ned Olney, if the stunting rate among the Filipinos continue to rise, it would be far possible for the families to break away from poverty. Apparently, only the poor and neglected sectors of society carry the burden of stunting. For Olney, any and all investments in reducing childhood malnutrition will likely to reduce suffering and poverty, and will absolutely motivate economic growth for all Filipinos.

Unfortunately, the report claimed that the government’s budget for nutrition programs to fight malnutrition is at 0.52% of government expenditures. Ideally, the worldwide average spending for malnutrition is 2.1 %.

Olney further claimed that nutrition is the foundation of all development efforts. This new report indicates that for every $1 spent on programs to prevent malnutrition in children under 2 years old, the country could save a hundred dollars in health, education and lost productivity costs.

Aizelle Joe