Slippery Slope: Filipino Poverty And Over All Health

1925 words - 8 pages

“Lack of money means lack of food and lack of food can lead to malnutrition.”
(World Health Organization)
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Poverty is the main cause of malnutrition because people are not able to eat the right kind of food they need.” Poverty and malnutrition have always had a link especially in the Philippines. A recent report from the Social Weather Stations (SWS) revealed that 52% of Filipinos consider themselves to be poor and 41% of Filipino families consider themselves food poor. It was also reported that the Food Poverty Threshold (FTP) the survey correspondents set is at an average of Php 4,750. According to the SWS, the FTP is the “monthly food budget that food-poor households need in home expenses in order not to consider themselves food-poor”. The FTP somehow serves as a “poverty line” in terms of food and a higher value means a higher standard of living as well. To some Filipinos Php 4,750 is a seemingly insignificant amount. But how about those Filipinos whose money is below the FTP, those people who are barely able to meet the international poverty line of $1.25, roughly Php 56, a day (World Bank)? Are they still able to meet the basic food requirements?

In a different report, the SWS stated that approximately 4.31 million Filipino families are experiencing moderate to severe hunger. Malnutrition, generally, can cause several nutritional disorders to arise, depending on the under- or over-abundance of nutrients in one’s body. Children from third world countries are often more vulnerable to the threat of undernourishment, and such is the case in the Philippines. A study conducted by the World Bank suggests that 34% of children under the age of five are stunted, showing low height for age; 21% are underweight, having love weight for age, and 6% are wasted, exhibiting low weight for height. Further research shows that anemia and diabetes are the top diseases contracted by Filipinos who are malnourished, affecting approximately 27% and 22% of the population, respectively.

The researcher observed street children, slum people and the homeless while commuting within Manila. The observer took note of the food those people were eating and assumed that their poverty causes their inability to buy food other than those observed.

Junk food. Coined by microbiologist Michael Jacobson in 1972, junk food generally refers to food items that are high in sugar, calories, salt, and fat yet have little to no nutritional value (30). Most of these foods contain additives like preservatives, coloring, etc. and are highly processed. However, despite all the added ingredients and processing, junk food remains to be more inexpensive and commercially available than healthy, unprocessed food. The extensive consumption of junk food is evidenced by their extensive, cheap sale and availability in markets: widespread fast food chains, grocery and convenience stores, and even street vendors (takatak boys, bangketa vendors). It...


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