Smoking and Malnutrition, a Growing Problem

The list of health problems caused by smoking rarely contains child malnutrition, but studies have found that smokers in one developing country spend money on tobacco that would go toward the family food budget.  A study of 33,000 mostly poor households in rural Indonesia with one smoker spent 68% of their budget for food versus 75% spent in a non-smoking household.   The decreased spending on food found the smokers’ children to be slightly shorter than children of non-smokers.  Health researchers often use height as a measurement for nutrition in children.   Not only do smoking families buy less food, but the food is also lower quality.   More rice is eaten and less meats, fruits and vegetables which are more nutritious, but more expensive.   Nearly 60% of Indonesian men smoke and the combination of health effects from smoking and poor nutrition on children is a growing challenge for these developing countries.

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