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In the Philippines poverty and pervasive malnutrition are not limited to families of deprived seasonal workers. Undernourishment is endemic and increasing throughout most of this archipelago of some 7100 islands, and is compounded by the prevalence of intestinal parasites and gastrointestinal diseases which health workers estimate deprive youngsters of at least 5-10% of the nutritional value in food they do consume.

This problem is particularly prevalent in rural villages and city slums where many people eat with their fingers. Nearly 1/2 of all reported deaths are among infants and children through age 4, and about 1/2 of the accelerated death rate among those age 5 and younger is related to malnutrition, compounded by diarrhea, measles, and malaria which is returning to areas where it once was almost eradicated. 3 factors critically affect a newborn's survival prospects: the family size he or she is born into; the time or spacing between the mother's pregnancies; and the child's birth order.

It is not jiggering with food aid or government price incentives that will assure that future Filipinos will have enough to eat. Only a productive revolution of rural life that also educates mothers to know what makes for sound family nutrition will be adequate.