Involuntary Hunger Down in Q1

Article excerpt

“Involuntary hunger” among Filipinos has eased in the first three months of 2009 compared to the last three months of last year according to a survey of the Social Weather Stations (SWS).The First Quarter 2009 survey of the SWS fielded over February 20-23, 2009, showed that “the proportion of families experiencing involuntary hunger at least once in the past three months has eased to 15.5 percent or an estimated 2.9 million families from a record high 23.7 percent or 4.3 million families in the last quarter of 2009.”The measure of hunger refers to involuntary suffering because the respondents answer a survey question that specifies hunger due to lack of anything to eat.The SWS survey questions about household hunger were directed to the household head, using the phrase "nakaranas ng gutom at wala kayong makain" or "experienced hunger, and did not have anything to eat."The questions were asked using face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults divided into random samples of 300 each in Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao , for a sampling error margin of ±6%. The area estimates were weighted by National Statistics Office medium-population projections for 2008 to obtain the national estimates.“The latest hunger figure is similar to the level of March 2008, and is just three points above the ten-year average of 12.6 percent,” SWS said.Hunger has consistently been at double-digits for over four years now, since June 2004 according to the SWS.“Moderate hunger” and “severe hunger” also declined the same survey showed.“The 8-point decline in Overall Hunger between December 2008 and February 2009 resulted from a 7-point decline in Moderate Hunger, combined with a 1-point decline in Severe Hunger,” SWS said.“Moderate Hunger,” referring to those who experienced it "only once" or "a few times" in the last three months, went from a record-high 18.5 percent (estimated 3.3 million families) in December to 11.1 percent (estimated 2 million families) in February.SWS said that the new score is just two points above the ten-year average Moderate Hunger rate of 9.3 percent. The few who did not state their frequency of Hunger were also included in said category. …