Cristina Maza, The Phnom Penh Post
Fri, 30 September 2016
The government must boost efforts to eradicate malnutrition among Cambodia’s women and children, many of whom are still chronically malnourished despite improvements in recent years, according to a new report in the International Journal of Food and Nutritional Science.
Basing the study on a review of research from UN organisations, non-profits and the government, the authors determined that stunting among Cambodia’s children under the age of 5 dropped from 45 percent in 2010 to 32 percent in 2014. Nevertheless, malnutrition is still thought to contribute to around 45 percent of child deaths in Cambodia, the study says.
“The drop in stunting is a great achievement for the country, but 32 percent is still very concerning,” said David Raminashvili, a nutrition expert at World Vision Cambodia. “If this trend continues for five years, then we’ll see some progress.”
The study considers children “stunted” if they are below an average height range for their age. A designation of “wasted”, meanwhile, is applied for children who are below average weight for their height, and “underweight” applies to children who are below average weight for their age. As of 2014, 24 percent of Cambodia’s children under the age of 5 were underweight, while 10 percent were wasted.
Global development experts widely believe that stunting in developing nations has a long-term negative impact on a country’s economic growth and development. According to a study cited in the report, malnutrition is among the most important factors causing poverty in Cambodia. (more…)