A quarter of toddlers in Putrajaya stunted due to malnutrition, says report

Source: The Malaysian Insight

The Malaysian Insight file pic, December 1, 2017.

A study has revealed that nearly one in four children under the age of five in Malaysia suffers nutritional stunting. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, December 1, 2017.

MORE than a quarter of children aged one to nearly two in Putrajaya are stunted, a study has revealed.

The Edge Markets in a report said the fact was revealed in the National Health and Morbidity Survey 2016, which found that 28% of children aged 12 to 23 months in the administrative capital suffer from stunting, or less than normal height growth.

The chief cause of stunting is chronic undernutrition.

The prevalence of stunted growth in Putrajaya is just 2% away from being called a health emergency by the World Health Organisation.

Nationally, it has been found that 20.7% of children under the age of five are stunted. This was reported in June in Malaysia’s first voluntary national review of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, presented to the UN General Assembly in New York. Read more

Warning signs of false dawn in food security – Paul Teng

Source: NST Online

BY PAUL P.S. TENG

According to the 2015 Rice Bowl Index report, Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia are relatively robust in their food security preparedness compared with other Asean countries. Pic taken from NST Online

Food security, as a matter of national concern, cannot be considered in isolation from the broader economic, social and physical environments. In recent years, many countries have experienced slower economic growth, affecting disposable income levels and, consequently, consumer spending and food consumption patterns. The physical environment has, likewise, experienced challenges from climate events and continued loss of arable land and freshwater resources.

During the same period, many food commodity prices have also fallen. While this makes food more affordable, it also reduces farm incomes and reduces investment in infrastructure and technology needed to improve overall productivity. A vicious cycle may ensue in which reduced productivity can further reduce farm incomes and a country’s agricultural competitiveness.

That there has been no discernible challenge to food security in the recent past should not be taken to mean that Asean countries have become food secure. In a new normal, Asean, particularly, and Asia, generally, has shown slower economic growth which affected the incomes of many of those who are food insecure. But, with lower commodity prices, food prices generally had also declined. This situation, however, could potentially be a false dawn if events cause food prices to rise irrespective of economic trends and households again have to endure food insecurity.

An index that tracks food security relative to macro-factors is the Rice Bowl Index (RBI) ©, which provides a measure of a country’s ability to withstand disturbances to its food security dimensions — availability, physical and economic access, utilisation and stability. The latest RBI © Report, “New Norm or False Dawn” released late last year, showed that over the preceding 12 months, food security robustness of Asean countries had generally improved, but at a slower pace than in previous years. Read more