Did you know that up to 32% of children in Cambodia are malnourished?
Malnutrition in Cambodia is an urgent issue for children but too often it does not get identified or treated correctly. This makes children more susceptible to life threatening diseases and can also impact their physical and mental development. This means they are less likely to do well in school and make a lower income when they are adults.
While much progress has been made in Cambodia to address child health, it’s important that we look and think again about the impact good nutrition can make.
Investing in nutrition can build a brighter future for children in Cambodia
To ensure children are well nourished, they need clean water, good health care, education, and have the right foods at the right time. This means we need to have good plans so families can access nutritious foods through markets and agriculture, and a child’s nutritional status should be regularly monitored at the health centre and at home, especially in their first 1000 days of life.
How can we reduce child malnutrition?
Malnutrition is not just a problem for some people; it’s something we must all work together on!
The most important time for a child’s nutrition is in their First 1000 Days – from pregnancy until age 2. During this time we can make sure our households, communities and country are doing everything we can to improve their nutrition.
Malnutrition is not always easy to see with your own eyes. Know the nutritional status your children by taking them for regular checks at your local Health Centre and monitoring child growth at home. Make sure they receive a nutritious diet of fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, oil and clean water.
Communities must work together with Commune Councils and other authorities to ensure everyone has access to the local Health Centre and access to a clean water source (including at the local school).
The Government has an important role to plan for secure food sources for all Cambodians, but must also promote and protect good nutritional practices. For example, the use of baby formula can have negative impacts on a child’s nutrition and could be prevented through better enforcement of existing legislation. Policies and legislation can also increase the consumption of fortified foods around the country.
For more information on the Government’s actions to reduce malnutrition, visit www.card.gov.kh.
Whoever you are, or wherever you live in Cambodia, you can have an impact on those around you by talking more about good nutrition practices. In particular, talk with government officials who can make nutrition a priority in their budgets and planning.
Learn more about malnutrition in Cambodia by reading Child Health Now's Policy Brief!