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Multilevel Determinants of Childhood Undernutrition among Low-Income Urban and Rural Households in the Philippines

Author

Listed:
  • Vanessa T. Siy Van

    (Health Sciences Program, Ateneo de Manila University)

  • Zarah G. Sales

    (Institute of Human Nutrition and Food, University of the Philippines Los Baños)

  • Normahitta P. Gordoncillo

    (Institute of Human Nutrition and Food, University of the Philippines Los Baños)

  • Leslie Advincula-Lopez

    (Development Studies Program, Ateneo de Manila University)

  • Joselito T. Sescon

    (Department of Economics, Ateneo de Manila University)

  • Eden Delight Miro

    (Department of Mathematics, Ateneo de Manila University)

Abstract

Poverty plays a large role in childhood undernutrition; however, the interplay between context-specific economic, environmental, and social factors and food decisions of Philippine low-income households has yet to be fully explored, especially given wide variation between the characteristics of the country’s rural and urban areas. This paper aimed to identify and compare pathways of childhood undernutrition among 308 rural and 310 urban children from low-income households in the Philippines. Multidisciplinary analyses based on 24-hour dietary recalls, household surveys, focus-group discussions, field data, and secondary literature revealed that while the poor are more vulnerable to undernutrition, poor urban and rural children faced unique constraints that accounted for differing nutritional outcomes. Urban families utilized cheap processed-foods that shaped children’s dietary preferences towards sugars and fats, leading to vegetable avoidance and poor micronutrient adequacy. Rural households generally relied on home food production. However, rather than mitigate threats to undernutrition, agriculture heightened rural households’ risk to food insecurity, as the Philippines is vulnerable to crop-destroying tropical storms. Geographically-isolated rural communities were particularly disadvantaged because members had limited livelihood opportunities and could not access most social protection programs. Our findings suggest the need to strengthen local governance institutions to implement context-specific multisectoral interventions.

Suggested Citation

  • Vanessa T. Siy Van & Zarah G. Sales & Normahitta P. Gordoncillo & Leslie Advincula-Lopez & Joselito T. Sescon & Eden Delight Miro, 2021. "Multilevel Determinants of Childhood Undernutrition among Low-Income Urban and Rural Households in the Philippines," Department of Economics, Ateneo de Manila University, Working Paper Series 202101, Department of Economics, Ateneo de Manila University.
  • Handle: RePEc:agy:dpaper:202101
    as

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    File URL: http://ateneo.edu/sites/default/files/downloadable-files/ADMU%20WP%202021-01.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Aurino, Elisabetta & Morrow, Virginia, 2018. "“Food prices were high, and the dal became watery”. Mixed-method evidence on household food insecurity and children’s diets in India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 211-224.
    2. Ampaabeng, Samuel K. & Tan, Chih Ming, 2013. "The long-term cognitive consequences of early childhood malnutrition: The case of famine in Ghana," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1013-1027.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Philippines; child nutrition; urbanization; food security; poverty; health inequalities;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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