Young Child and Maternal Nutrition: A Review of the Situation in the SEA Region

JNDAP, 2013, Vol 27, No. 1 & 2

The nutrition situation in South East Asian (SEA) countries is very critical in determining the magnitude or extent of the problems and in understanding their etiology to identify responsive interventions. This paper aims to describe who are the malnourished, where they are and what are the causes of malnutrition among children under five, and pregnant and lactating women in nine SEA countries. Recent available data from international databases, country surveys at the national, sub-national, and/or regional levels, relevant reports, and published studies were reviewed to come up with a suitable functional classification or description that can identify (1) which countries have high prevalence of stunting, under-nutrition, wasting, and overnutrition among under-five children; (2) where high prevalence of chronic energy deficiency and overnutrition among pregnant and lactating women exist; and (3) what poor infant and young child feeding practices, food insecurity, and inadequate maternal child care are associated with malnutrition in children. It was noted that disparities in the availability of nutrition data across countries limit the full description of the nutrition situation in the region. The conduct of a harmonized and synchronized data collection is recommended. The information to be derived from well-conducted regular monitoring and nutrition surveillance systems is critical not only for determining the magnitude or extent of the nutrition problems but more importantly for understanding their etiology to be able to recommend appropriate or responsive interventions.

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