Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Malnutrition is a major issue in ethnic minorities

Malnutrition is a major issue in ethnic minorities

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Girls of Hmong ethnicity in Nong truong Moc Chau Township in Vietnam’s Son La province. NGUYEN CUONG/VIETNAM NEWS AGENCY/VIET NAM NEWS

Malnutrition is a major issue in ethnic minorities

One in every three ethnic minority children in Vietnam suffers from stunted growth, while one in five is underweight, a new report said.

The study, released by the World Bank and Vietnam’s National Institute of Nutrition, is the latest comprehensive research on persistent malnutrition in the ethnic minorities.

Ethnic minorities account for 73 per cent of the poor in the Southeast Asian country.

The report said the rate of malnutrition in Vietnamese children remarkably decreased over the last two decades, from 36.5 per cent diagnosed with stunted growth in 2000 to 24.6 per cent in 2015.

However, the disparities between children of ethnic minorities and those of Kinh people, who have the largest population in Vietnam, grew larger over time.

There was approximately 31 per cent of minority children stunted in 2015, more than doubling the rate of Kinh people at 15 per cent and the average national rate at 17.5 per cent.

“Despite Vietnam’s impressive progress in reducing the rate of malnutrition over the past two decades, ethnic minorities children still lag behind, and the disparity is widening,” said World Bank country director for Vietnam Ousmane Dione.

“The next phase of efforts on malnutrition should be more targeted, concentrating on the provinces with the highest problems, to create a breakthrough.”

Poverty was believed to be the root of rampant malnutrition in the ethnic communities, as the report found only 39 per cent of children of two years old and younger received a nutritionally adequate diet.

Undernourishment in such time span – which is dubbed the first golden 1,000 days in a child’s life – can lead to extensive and largely irreversible damage to physical growth and brain development, the United Nations Children’s Fund said.

Malnutrition is a worldwide issue which is proved to be the cause of death for 45 per cent of children aged below five and also leaves long-term negative impacts on a person’s productivity and lifelong income.

The economic costs of undernourishment are estimated to bring a country’s gross domestic product down by between two and 10 per cent, the World Bank said.

VIET NAM NEWS/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

MOST VIEWED

  • Khmer New Year holidays postponed

    In an effort to halt Covid-19 infections in the Kingdom, Prime Minister Hun Sen has postponed the Khmer New Year holidays scheduled from April 13 to 16. While the people will not have their usual break, nor will there be any public celebrations or gatherings at pagodas,

  • Private schools struggling

    The Cambodian Higher Education Association has claimed that 113 private educational establishments are facing bankruptcy because of their inability to pay rent and staff salaries in light of nationwide school closures caused by the Covid-19 outbreak. It said the financial trouble started when the Ministry of

  • NA, Senate set for bill on ‘emergency’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested the Senate to convene an extraordinary meeting to review the draft law that aims to put the Kingdom in a state of emergency after the bill reached the National Assembly (NA) on Friday. The draft law, which was approved

  • Temporarily laid-off workers to get just $70

    Prime Minister Hun Sen announced changes in the allowances for temporarily laid-off garment workers from receiving 60 per cent of the minimum wage to a flat $70 because factories cannot pay, he said. Workers will also not be required to attend training courses after more than 100 factories

  • Tourists can now prolong their stay

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said tourists holding Visa T and arriving in the Kingdom after January 1 will be allowed to prolong their stay until they are able to return home. The decision comes as Cambodia and most countries take measures to

  • PM: Law likely next week

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said the draft law aiming to place the Kingdom in a state of emergency amid the Covid-19 pandemic is likely to be approved after the Khmer New Year, though he said there is a slim chance of enforcement given the current