Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Smoking May Worsen Malnutrition In Developing Nations

"Nearly 60 percent of Indonesian men smoke. Rates are similarly high—and increasing—in other developing Asian nations. Block and Webb's research suggests that these increasing rates pose a dual threat to developing nations."(poorer nutrition in children of smoker parents)

ScienceDaily (Aug. 24, 2009)A new study finds that smokers in rural Indonesia finance their habit by dipping into the family food budget—which ultimately results in poorer nutrition for their children.
Using surveys of 33,000 mostly poor households in Java, Indonesia, the researchers found that the average family with at least one smoker spends 10 percent of its already tight budget on tobacco. Sixty-eight percent of a smoking family's budget goes to food, and 22 percent for non-food, non-tobacco purchases. The average non-smoking family, on the other hand, spends 75 percent of its income on food and 25 percent for non-food items.
"This suggests that 70 percent of the expenditures on tobacco products are financed by a reduction in food expenditures," the researchers write.

The study found that smokers' children tend to be slightly shorter for their ages than the children of non-smokers.
The poorer nutrition in smoking families comes not only because they buy less food in total, but also because the food they buy tends to be of lower quality.
Source:Journal reference:
Steven A. Block and Patrick Webb. Up in Smoke: Tobacco Use, Expenditure on Food, and Child Malnutrition in Developing Countries. Economic Development and Cultural Change, 58:1. (October 2009)
Adapted from materials provided by
University of Chicago Press Journals, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

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