Rich Filipino families who could buy more are inclined to waste more food than those who have less, a scientific study showed.
Rep. Ray Reyes of Anakalusugan party-list group backed the call of the World Health Organization (WHO) to implement more
comprehensive policies to reduce sodium intake among Filipinos.
The research, conducted by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), also indicated that excess rice, vegetables, and meat often go to the trash bin.
The study used two-stage cluster survey to evaluate the Filipino household’s eating behaviors, according to the DOST’s Food and Nutrition Research Institute.
Some of the factors contributing to food wastage are; larger household meal portion size, greater number of household members, and higher wealth status.
The study also found that households with the highest rice consumption were more likely to throw away excess rice compared to households with the lowest consumption.
“Rice wastage is also more common in households with a household head whose age ranges from 50–69 years old, than those with a younger household head,” the DOST said.
“More food are wasted in households with 5 or more members, and those residing in rural areas,” it added.
According to the agency, households with the highest vegetable consumption were more likely to waste vegetables compared to those with the lowest consumption.
“This implies that households incur more wastes when higher quantities are purchased, which most probably are not consumed and ends up being thrown away due to spoilage,” the DOST said.
“Households composed of five or less members were found to have greater chances of wasting vegetables, which mirrors the results of a previous study which found that larger households were more efficient in meal consumption.”
The study used the data from 20,151 Filipino households who participated in the 2018 Expanded National Nutrition Survey (ENNS).
The DOST said that richer families tend to have more food waste than poorer families.
“Households belonging to the richest quintile were found to have greater plate waste compared to the poorest quintile. Past studies exhibited the same, where higher income households were found to waste more food than lower-income households,” it said.
“This may be explained that higher-income households consume diets that tend to include more perishable items. Some of the waste can be explained by food spoiling before the household had a chance to eat it.”
The agency said that the plate waste is closely linked to hunger incidence and threatened food security.
Millions of Filipinos under poverty and experiencing food insecurity are struggling to be fed, and the food that is simply thrown away or discarded might actually be enough to feed them,” said Dr. Imelda Angeles Agdeppa, lead researcher of DOST-FNRI.
It noted that plate waste also generally emits a portion of the total global greenhouse gas emissions that impact on global warming.
“The study suggested that a more effective strategy for reducing food waste may be to train people to prepare and select less food (portion and meal size reduction) and to formulate more policies tackling waste-reduction programs,” DOST added.
“AnaKalusugan has always been active in pushing for legislation that will promote the health of Filipinos and we are one with the World Health Organization in pushing for more effective strategies to reduce salt intake,” Reyes, vice chair of the House committee on health, said.
Citing WHO data, Reyes said an adult should only have a maximum intake of less than 2,000 mg of sodium per day.
However, as of October 2022, the Philippines’ estimated daily dietary sodium intake is at 4,113 mg, he added.
“Reducing our salt intake will not only improve our health but also lower the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and premature death,” he said.
Data from WHO show that 20 percent of Filipino adults are diagnosed with high blood pressure and that 35 percent of all deaths in the Philippines were due to cardiovascular disease.
“Lasting and meaningful change always starts from within. We urge our kababayans to put less salt to the food they prepare and buy foods that contain less sodium,” Reyes said.
Reyes reiterated that AnaKalusugan party–list will continue to advocate for the inclusion of health in the government’s policies, particularly in the allocation of resources and the efficient implementation of universal health care.
“Aside from this, we will continue to push for measures that we have spearheaded in Congress, including free medical checkups and the removal of value added tax on maintenance medicines,” he added.