Sri Lanka has least number of underweight children in South Asia
Of all South Asian nations, Sri Lanka has the lowest number of
underweight and stunted children, World Bank’s South Asia Region Human
Development Unit’s senior nutrition specialist Nkosinathi Mbuya said.
He said 22 percent of Sri Lankan children aged up to five, are
underweight while the prevalence rates of underweight children are 33
percent in Afghanistan, 41 percent in Bangladesh, 43 percent in India,
39 percent in Nepal and 31 percent in Pakistan.
Meanwhile, 18 percent of Sri Lankan children aged up to five are
stunted while it is 59 percent in Afghanistan, 43 percent in Bangladesh,
48 percent in India, 49 percent in Nepal and 42 percent in Pakistan.
However, the stunting levels in tea estates are the highest (42
percent). Hence the government should intervene to improve nutrition
levels in children, adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women in
tea estates through community-based nutrition programmes targetting
these areas, Mbuya said. He also praised the Sri Lankan government’s
efforts to establish the National Nutrition Council in Sri Lanka.
“The President and the government should be praised for their
assistance in eradicating malnutrition among children. Sri Lanka is the
only country which has such a Council. It is the one and only
institution chaired by the head of state in the entire world,” Mbuya
said. Making a special presentation on the challenges of nutrition in
South Asia at the South Asia Journalists’ Nutrition Workshop on the
theme ‘reporting on nutrition’, in Kathmandu, Nepal recently, Mbuya said
exclusive breastfeeding, proper complementary feeding and maternal
nutrition are the main causes for decline in child malnutrition.
“This approach would facilitate healthy growth and development,” he
The workshop was convened by the World Bank and facilitated by