Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Kids’ supplement results mixed

Kids’ supplement results mixed

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Locally produced food supplements placed on a table, which according to UNICEF, can help tackle the longstanding problem with malnutrition in Cambodia. Photo supplied

Kids’ supplement results mixed

The Cambodian government and UNICEF yesterday released results of a clinical trial on new locally produced food supplements to tackle the country’s persistently dismal malnutrition figures, with at least one of the two products proving effective.

The food supplements, dubbed Num Trey, are fish-based, and come in two types. One is aimed at treating acute malnutrition while the other one is designed to prevent malnutrition, according to researchers.

Frank Wieringa, senior researcher at the Institut de Recherche pour le Developpement, said research on the supplement to treat acute malnutrition showed that nutrition improved among participating children, with a mean weight gain per day of 0.82 grams, compared with 1.14 grams with an international product a negligible difference, he said. “The product we have is just as good.”

However, results for the product designed to help prevent malnutrition only prevented wasting – being severely underweight for one’s age – but not stunting – being significantly under-height – said Sok Daream, a PhD fellow at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

“We failed on this one,” Arnaud Laillou, nutrition specialist at UNICEF, later acknowledged. “We know it doesn’t work on stunting.” But research on the product is still ongoing.

More than 60 percent of children aged 12 to 23 months, and up to 80 percent of children aged 6 to 8 months, don’t receive the minimum acceptable daily diet, said Debora Comini, UNICEF representative for Cambodia.

“And the poorest children are four times less likely to receive a minimum acceptable diet than children from the wealthiest families,” she said.

UNICEF estimates there are more than 90,000 children in Cambodia under the age of 5 who require treatment for acute malnutrition.

MOST VIEWED

  • Stock photo agencies cash in on Khmer Rouge tragedy
    Stock-photo companies selling images from S-21 raises ethics concerns

    A woman with short-cropped hair stares directly into the camera, her head cocked slightly to the side. On her lap is a sleeping infant just barely in the frame. The woman was the wife of a Khmer Rouge officer who fell out of favour, and

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the