DPR of Korea: children malnourished and underweight despite progress, says UN

11 July 2005

Despite some progress since the famine of the mid-1990s, children in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) are still malnourished and underweight by United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) standards.

Despite some progress since the famine of the mid-1990s, children in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) are still malnourished and underweight by United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) standards.

“Since the mid-1990s we have made a difference for children in North Korea,” UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) country representative Pierrette Vu Thi said recently in Pyongyang, the DPRK capital. “But we do need to sustain these efforts. And the concern is with the current food shortages that could impact negatively on the nutritional status of children and even reverse the positive gains made over the past 10 years.”

As a major health challenge facing DPRK’s children today, Ms. Vu Thi pointed to a combination of malnutrition with common childhood diseases such as diarrhoea.

“Chronic malnutrition among children one, two, three years old is 30 per cent lower than in 2002,” she noted. “This makes sense as it takes longer to reverse the impact of something in older children. However, we should not be complacent about the situation because chronic malnutrition and underweight are still quite high by WHO standards.

“I would also like to highlight the fact that, unfortunately, there has been no change in the nutritional status of mothers and some one-third of mothers were found to be malnourished and anaemic as with the case in 2002,” Ms. Vu Thi said.

Over the past 10 years floods and droughts have caused agricultural and economic devastation in the DPRK.

 

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