Tue, Apr 22, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Survey uncovers rampant malnutrition

By Chen Ping-hung and Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Many underprivileged children and families in the nation are malnourished, and often have NT$100 (US$3.30) or less to spend on a family evening dinner, according to a survey released by the Children Welfare League Foundation yesterday.

“Dinner for children of these families is often just rice and one helping of green vegetables. Some of them bring home leftovers from their school lunch for supper,” the foundation’s chief executive director Chen Li-ju (陳麗如) said.

“The survey showed that most of these children are malnourished. More than 90 percent of these families have no meat, fish, eggs or other source of protein for supper. More than one-third of these parents suffer from debilitating illness and about one-in-five have children suffering from physical or mental disability,” she said.

The survey was conducted by the foundation on the 3,722 families and the more than 5,000 children serviced by the foundation.

The result showed that more than 52.8 percent of families in need have a income that falls below the government’s minimum monthly wage of NT$19,047 and 63.1 percent have insufficient income to cover their regular monthly living expenses.

A total of 92.5 percent of the families sometimes have to borrow money to feed themselves, while 75.8 percent said they had to borrow money to raise their children, it showed.

The survey also showed that 60.4 percent of the parents said they have no time to look after their children because they have to work, while 57.6 percent have no time to speak to their children.

The foundation has launched a Web site to raise donations.

It added that its target this year is NT$30 million, which Chen said could help more than 5,000 children by covering their living expenses for one year and also help set up an emergency relief fund.

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