National Nutrition Day is celebrated annually on November 6, with the aim of raising public awareness throughout the country about the importance of food security and nutrition in contributing to human capital development. This will improve working efficiency and promote economic growth and social progress.

The 9th National Nutrition Day 2022 will be held with the theme of “Safer Food, Better Health”.

Prime Minister Hun Sen said in a November 1 voice message that food safety affects all of society, and is vital to the health, livelihood and well-being of all people.

He said that improving food safety is an important factor to ensure the sustainability of food systems, the development of human capital and is necessary to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“A campaign to promote food safety will be held throughout the country. It will focus on raising public awareness, strengthening technical capacity, preparing guidelines, technical regulations and standards and strengthening the implementation of inclusive, transparent, effective and responsible policies, laws and regulations,” he said.

According to the results of the Cambodia Demographic and Health Survey 2021-2022, the stunting rate of children under 5 has dropped from 32 to 22 per cent and the underweight rate of children under 5 has decreased from 24 to 16 per cent. The rate of wasting in children under 5 years old has remained at 9.8 per cent from 2014 to 2021.

In order to increase progress on the promotion of food safety, food security and nutrition for systematic progress, Prime Minister Hun Sen recommended that all relevant ministries and institutions continue to review the preparation of legal documents related to hygiene, safety, quality and food suitability.

“This includes street food and that which available at educational institutions. To support law enforcement on food safety, wide ranging discussions must be held with the private sector and development partners,” he said.

He said that all ministries and institutions involved in food production and safety – from farms to restaurants – must cooperate and provide the information needed to facilitate the planning and preparation of national food safety programmes, and analysis of potential risks.

He also took the opportunity to instruct all institutions, development partners, civil society organisations, the private sector and

members of the community to participate in inspiring support for the practice of exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months of babies life, and continued breastfeeding until the child is at least 2 years old.

Ahead of National Nutrition Day, he called on food vendors to participate in improving food safety in the production, processing, storage and distribution of fresh and cooked food to make sure good hygiene is observed.

On October 27, the Ministry of Health and the National Maternal and Child Health Centre (NMCHC) jointly announced the implementation of transitional guidelines on monitoring and promoting the growth of children under 5 in Cambodia.

The guidelines will provide effective monitoring of the growth and development of children.

NMCHC deputy director Keo Muoy Sroy said this is the first time that the Ministry has implemented the guidelines.

He added that the first five years of a child’s life are important for their growth and development, especially the first 1,000 days (from the time they are in womb until the children are 2 years old). Children represent the future economic and social development of Cambodia, so their health and nutrition should be protected.