Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Malnutrition concerns raised

Malnutrition concerns raised

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Thirty-two of 100 Cambodian children are stunted due to malnutrition, Scaling Up Nutrition Civil Society Alliance (SUN CSA) coordinator Hou Kroeun said on Friday. Photo supplied

Malnutrition concerns raised

In conjunction with the Ministry of Health, two civil society groups on Friday expressed their concern about malnutrition among children and pregnant women in Cambodia, quoting statistics showing that almost one in three children in the Kingdom suffers from it.

Scaling Up Nutrition Civil Society Alliance (SUN CSA) coordinator Hou Kroeun told reporters at the Media Training on Food Security and Nutrition workshop held on Friday: “Thirty-two of 100 Cambodian children are stunted due to malnutrition.

“This rate is too high and it is unacceptable for us – malnutrition does not only affect physical development, but also emotional development.”

Kroeun said recent research showed malnutrition caused Cambodia to lose $250 million or some 1.7 per cent of its GDP, annually.

“We prioritise nutrition and food security, but unfortunately people do not understand even the word nutrition itself,” he said.

However, Council for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) deputy secretary-general and SUN CSA country director Sok Silo emphasised the remarkable progress made in the last two decades in health and nutrition among mothers and infants in Cambodia.

However, he said there was still a long way to go.

Silo cited the Ministry of Planning’s 2014 demographic health survey which showed that the level of malnourished children had been reduced from 50 per cent in 2000 to 32 per cent in 2014.

The study also showed the rate of underweight children had reduced from 39 per cent in 2000 to 24 per cent in 2014, while that of malnourished women of reproductive age reduced from 21 per cent in 2000 to 14 per cent in 2014.

Additionally, the rate of mothers breastfeeding their babies increased remarkably between 2000 and 2010.

“Though malnutrition has been reduced to 32%, the rate remains high. This high malnutrition is a threat and a problem hindering the sustainability of social and economic development, human resource development and national development.

“Malnutrition adversely affects children’s learning as well as their efficiency when they grow up, and it subsequently affects the family and national economy,” Silo said.

Silo said that achieving a solution for malnutrition is necessary in order for Cambodia to achieve sustainable development by 2030.

Ministry of Health under-secretary of state Dr Prak Sophonneary stressed that malnutrition is a problem requiring a speedy solution.

“The high malnutrition rate is a problem hindering the sustainability of social, economic, human resource and national development. Therefore, the ministry promotes nutritional work with the full cooperation of SUN CSA,” she said.

To alleviate the problem of malnutrition, Sorphonneary appealed to the media to participate in promoting the issue.

“Wide understanding at a community level about nutrition is key so that people will understand, implement and change their behaviour towards nutritional issues for the better. I appeal to all media outlets to support and increase reporting on nutrition nationwide,” she said.


  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where

  • Businesses in capital told to get travel permit amid lockdown through One Window Service

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration has issued guidelines on how to get travel permission for priority groups during the lockdown of Phnom Penh, directing private institutions to apply through the municipality's One Window Service and limit their staff to a mere two per cent. In

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Ministry names types of business permitted amid lockdown

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training singled out 11 types of business that are permitted to operate during the lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takmao town, which run through April 28. Those include (1) food-processing enterprises and slaughterhouses; (2) providers of public services such as firefighting, utility and