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Malnutrition comes at steep price

Malnutrition remains a challenge that threatens the lives of thousands of children and leads to annual economic losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars, senior government officials and experts said yesterday.

Speaking at the National Conference on Nutrition in Phnom Penh, Council for Agricultural and Rural Development Secretary-General Lao Sokha said that while the Kingdom has made major strides to overcome malnutrition, about 6,000 children still die every year from the condition.

“A lot of progress has been made, but if we examine the state of nutrition in the country . . . we need to further intensify efforts,” said the council’s chairman, Yim Chhay Ly.

According to an Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition report presented, malnutrition has cost Cambodia in excess of $400 million annually and could prevent it from reaching its goal of 7 per cent annual economic growth.

To improve the current situation, USAID deputy chief Julie Chung said the government, private sector and other stakeholders should work together to ensure that nutritional and food security needs are met.

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