Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Campaign targets malnourished children

Campaign targets malnourished children

Campaign targets malnourished children

120427_05b

It could save the government more than US$100 million a year, and all it takes is a few spoonfuls a day.

{jathumbnail}

This is the message from UNICEF and its government partners at today’s launch of the campaign to promote complementary feeding for Cambodian children aged between six and 24 months.

According to a 2010 study, 40 per cent of children in the Kingdom below the age of five years were chronically malnourished (stunted), 11 per cent acutely malnourished (wasted) and 28 per cent underweight, UNICEF nutrition specialist Joel Conkle told the Post by email yesterday.

“It is caused by the inability to afford nutritious food, high rates of infectious diseases and inappropriate feeding practices,” Conkle said.

“Child malnutrition today will have serious long-term consequences for the health of the Cambodian population and for its economic development.

The campaign aims to have mothers and caretakers feed their young children home-made, multi-ingredient rice porridge several times a day to support physical and cognitive development.

Currently, when young children are no longer breastfed, they will eat what the rest of the family eats – which is usually too liquidy and low in nutrition to support the child’s growth.

“In Cambodia, it is estimated that the country loses over $146 million in GDP to vitamin and mineral deficiencies every year,” Conkle said.

“Child malnutrition presents a heavy economic burden on Cambodia’s health system in terms of child health outcomes and adult chronic disease.”

UNICEF states that in order to make children healthy, strong and smart, mothers and caretakers need to provide improved complementary feeding to children six to 24 months of age by feeding them rice porridge that contains food items from all three food groups (vegetable, protein and carbohydrates) and ensure that the food is thick enough to stay on a spoon.

The campaign will include a nationwide education and training to deliver this message to all households.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bridget Di Certo at [email protected]

MOST VIEWED

  • Ministers to tackle sea pollutants

    Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities and members of local communities have collected 77 tonnes of water hyacinth at a Sihanoukville beach, Preah Sihanouk Provincial Hall spokesperson Or Saroeun said. He told The Post yesterday that the aquatic weeds had been floating along some of the province’s

  • Negotiations on EBA being held

    In an effort to defuse tensions, a senior government official said Cambodia is negotiating with the European Union (EU) on the Everything But Arms (EBA) trade deal, which allows the Kingdom to export goods to the 28-member bloc tariff-free. The EU notified Cambodia on October 5

  • Chinese police escort deported scam suspects

    Ninety-one Chinese nationals accused of extorting money from victims in a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) scam were deported from Phnom Penh International Airport on Monday under the escort of 182 Chinese police personnel. General Department of Immigration head of investigations Ouk Hay Seila told reporters

  • EU timber deal in firing line

    A committee of more than 20 national and international organisations filed a petition to the EU on October 10 to prevent it from signing a timber trade agreement with Vietnam, noting that the deal would be disastrous to the Kingdom’s forests. The petition claims Vietnamese timber