Child malnutrition in PH costs $7 billion per year
About $7 billion per year, or nearly 3 percent of the country’s GDP is the estimated cost of child malnutrition in the Philippines, a global aid agency said.
The $7 billion figure is in terms of education spending and lost productivity, while the report also added that hunger-related stunting in the country is increasing among children, UK Business Insider said in a publication.
Global organization Save the Children found that the combined losses, with data from 2013, are more than triple the cost of damage inflicted by 15 natural disasters that hit the Southeast Asian country last year.
“Stunting costs are a drag on the economy and impacts all of us, not just the child and the family. It keeps the Filipino economy poorer by 3 percent. If you add that up over time – it’s an anchor to progress,” Ned Olney, head of Save the Children in the Philippines, told Business Insider.
Stunting is described as low height-for-age and is computed by matching the height of a child against the international standard benchmark for a child of the same age. The phenomenon, the report said, is typically caused by poor diet during the child’s first 1,000 days of life, and has irreversible, severe consequences on cognitive functioning.
Citing government data, the report said that after 25 years of stable improvement, the occurrence of stunting among Filipino children under five went up to 33% in 2015 from 30% in 2013.
“That’s a 10 percent increase in a two-year period, so that is devastating. We’re going in the wrong direction,” Olney added.
“Even though you have an economy that’s humming along at 6 to 7 percent a year, you have an increase in poverty from 24 to 25 percent of all families, and you haven’t addressed the issue of access to food.”, he said.