2.1 Poverty as undernutrition
The data source which is generally regarded as the most representative of nutritional conditions is the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI). Some results of the First FNRI Nationwide Nutrition Survey in 1978 are presented here3; the findings of the Second Nationwide Survey in 1982 are not yet available. The 1978 FNRI survey placed the national average energy intake per person at 1,804 calories per day, or only 89 per cent of the recommended allowance of 2,036. It found that 38.4 per cent of households had an energy intake less than 80 per cent of the required amount. The national average protein intake in 1978 was 53 grammes per person per day, exceeding the recommended allowance of 51.5 gramme. However, the proportion of households with protein intake less than 70 per cent of the required amount was still 16.4 per cent.
For the rural sector in particular, the 1978 average intake as a ratio to the recommended allowance is 87 per cent in the case of energy, 99 per cent in protein, 92 per cent in iron and 63 per cent in Vitamin A. Urban ratios are somewhat larger. The proportion of rural households with energy intake less than 80 per cent’ of the required amount is 38 per cent, about the same as urban households. Those with protein intake less than 70 per cent of the recommended level amount to 18 per cent of the rural households, or 6 points larger than the urban households; and those with Vitamin A intake less than 40 per cent recommended level amount to 46 per cent of the rural households, or 7 points larger than the urban households.
The average per capita nutrient intake in the 1978 National Survey was significantly greater than in earlier surveys of the FNRI in various regions of Luzon and Visayas in 1975-1977. (Luzon and Visayas have about 88 per cent of the population, according to the 1980 Census.) Comparing 1978 with the 1975/78 average, the average intake among rural households rose by 2 per cent in the case of energy, 8 per cent in protein, 4 per cent in iron and 17 per cent in vitamin. Increases among the urban households were substantially greater in all four categories (10 per cent, 17 per cent 9 per cent and 40 per cent respectively).
Tables 7.2 to 7.4, which contain the data cited above, confirm the general view that the rural sector is worse off than the urban sector, in terms of (a) average levels of nutrient intake, (b) the proportions having intake deficiencies, and (c) the rate of improvement over time, in Luzon-Visayas, in average intake levels. Among the various means of depicting poverty, nutrient deficiencies seem to be the least controversial.
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