Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Gov’t beefs up campaign to address malnutrition

Gov’t beefs up campaign to address malnutrition

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Health ministry secretary of state Prak Sophorneary speaks at the workshop held in Phnom Penh on Monday. SUPPLIED

Gov’t beefs up campaign to address malnutrition

The Ministry of Health will beef up its campaign on behaviour changes in the area of nutrition for mothers, babies and children, as 14 per cent of women at reproductive age are underweight while another 45 per cent are anaemic.

Ministry secretary of state Prak Sophorneary gave these figures while speaking at the launch of the three-day Youth Nutrition Champion training programme on basic nutrition, healthy diet, food safety, food fortification and food labelling, which ended on January 19.

The training programme was co-organised by Helen Keller International-Cambodia (HKI); Multi-Sectoral Food and Nutrition Security Project (MUSEFO); the Council for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD); National Nutrition Programme (NNP); Department of Drugs and Food Safety (DDF); Department of Nutrition Improvement under the Ministry of Planning; and Mount Saint Vincent University of Canada.

She said that based on a recent demographic study, 14 per cent of girls at reproductive age are underweight while 45 per cent are anaemic. At the same time, however, 18 per cent are now overweight.

“In terms of which micronutrients they lack, we see that 62 per cent of women lack zinc. The lack of folic acid is also still a problem with 18 per cent of women. Lack of vitamin D is at moderate levels and is also a problem for 31 per cent of women,” she said, citing the study.

She said that 78 per cent of women and 66 per cent of children lack iodine in their urine when it has been tested and many women were also found to lack vitamin B1.

“Many women at reproductive health in Cambodia have a lifestyle of eating foods which lack nutrition, before and during pregnancy and during their breastfeeding.

“The ministry will campaign to promote education on dietary needs during pregnancy and other education on basic health requirements in the community. We will follow up on their understanding of children’s dietary needs and provide them with micronutrients,” she said.

Sophorneary said scientists have found that when children lack nutrition, they are undersized and do not do well in school and tend to repeat grades more often, leading to a reduction on average of 22 per cent in their earned income when they become adults.

“Studies show that children that are sick often suffer from malnutrition and their families have to spend 20 per cent of their income for treatments and this leads to an impact on the income of the family and the country as a whole,” she said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen: Stop Russia sanctions

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said sanctions against Russia as a result of its military offensive in Ukraine should be stopped as they have produced no tangible results, and predicted that a global food crisis would ensue in 2023 as a consequence. Speaking to an audience at

  • Chinese tourists 2.0 – Coming anytime soon?

    Regional tourism is grappling with the absence of the prolific travellers and big spenders – the Chinese tourists. Cambodia, which has welcomed over two million Chinese tourists before Covid-19, is reeling from the economic loss despite being the first to fully open last November ‘To put

  • PM reflects on shoe throwing: Free speech or act of violence?

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 17 questioned whether a man who threw a shoe at him while he was in the US was exercising freedom of expression or if it was an act of hostility. Hun Sen was referring to an incident last week when

  • Siem Reap’s Angkor Botanical Garden opens

    The Angkor Botanical Garden was officially opened on May 19 with free entry for both local and international visitors for the first six weeks. The garden was established on a nearly 15ha plot of land in Siem Reap. “After the first six weeks, Angkor Botanical Garden

  • Pub Street on the cards for Battambang

    The Battambang Provincial Authority has announced that it is considering establishing a Pub Street in the area around the heritage buildings in Battambang town in a bid to attract more tourists. Battambang provincial governor Sok Lou told The Post that the establishment of a Pub

  • Hun Sen: Don’t react to hostility

    Prime Minister Hun Sen urged tolerance and thanked members of the Cambodian diaspora for not reacting to the hostility on display towards him by others while he was in the US to attend the May 12-13 ASEAN-US Special Summit in Washington, DC. In an audio