Multilevel Pathways of Rural and Urban Poverty as Determinants of Childhood Undernutrition in the Philippines

Vanessa T. Siy Van, Ateneo de Manila University
Zarah G. Sales, University of the Philippines Los Banos
Normahitta P. Gordoncillo, University of the Philippines Los Banos
Leslie Advincula-Lopez, Ateneo de Manila University
Joselito T. Sescon, Ateneo de Manila University
Eden Delight Miro, Ateneo de Manila University


This paper identified and compared pathways of childhood undernutrition among 308 rural and 310 urban children from low-income households in the Philippines. Multidisciplinary analyses based on quantitative and qualitative data revealed unique urban and rural constraints accounting for differing nutritional outcomes. Urban poor families were more food secure, though vegetable avoidance and poor micronutrient adequacy were observed. Rather than mitigate threats to undernutrition, rural households’ reliance on home food agriculture heightened risk to food insecurity, as the Philippines is vulnerable to crop-destroying tropical storms. Our findings suggest the need to strengthen local governance institutions to implement context-specific multisectoral interventions.