The Philippine economy is losing P328 billion a year due to malnutrition, the organization Save the Children reported yesterday.
“This year we decided to take a little bit of a different look. What does it mean for a society, the entire economy, to have large numbers of stunted children. What we done this year is look at the impact of the education system and the resulting impact on productivity,” Save the Children Philippines country director Ned Olney said in a press conference in Manila.
Stunting is the most prevalent form of undernutrition and has permanent effects on a child’s growth and development.
Olney disclosed that according to the most recent report, entitled “Cost of Hunger: Philippines”, childhood stunting cost the Philippines almost three percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) in 2013.
“What we’ve seen… is that we’re going the wrong direction. So after a quarter century, have slow but steady progress reducing malnutrition,” Olney noted.
And the study, he said, only proves that “undernutrition has a cost to all of us.”
“In just a year, the Philippines has lost almost three percent of its GDP in terms of education and productivity costs due to stunting. If we add up health costs, the likely impact would be an additional 0.05 to 1.6 percent,” the official explained.
The report revealed that the overall economic loss of P328 billion is consists of P166.5 billion worth of lost income as a result of lower level of education achieved by the working population who suffered from childhood stunting; P160 billion in lost productivity due to premature deaths among children who would have been members of our current working-age population; and P1.23 billion in additional education costs to cover grade repetitions linked to undernutrition.
In addition, it was reported that stunting is the best predictor of productivity and income, and that undernutrition is linked to lower human capital. (CHARINA ECHALUCE)