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As Laos prospers, child malnutrition persists

Date Published: 
08/29/2013
Summary: 

Economic growth in Laos is propelling the country towards achieving middle income status by 2020, yet chronic malnutrition among children under five years old remains a pervasive challenge, experts say. (..) Laos’s nationwide stunting average is 44 percent among under-fives, and stunting rates are as high as 58 percent in the northern highland provinces, according to the World Food Programme (WFP). “Laos is a challenging context to address hunger,” said Aachal Chand, WFP Laos’s head of nutrition, who says key obstacles include geographic isolation, the need for greater dietary diversity and poor awareness about nutritional health. Other experts additionally point to heavy reliance on subsistence farming in rural areas, as well as seasonal and weather-induced food insecurity.