According to a survey conducted by the Family Health Bureau during the nutrition month of 2023, concerning figures regarding child malnutrition have come to light, painting a concerning picture of the health status of young children in the country.
The survey identifies 15,758 children under the age of 5 suffering from severe malnutrition, with an additional 120,230 children classified as experiencing moderate malnutrition. Shockingly, the number of underweight children in this age group stands at 232,004, while 140,414 children are reported to have inadequate height for their age.
In a distressing revelation, the report indicates that 5,850 children are suffering from obesity, highlighting the dual burden of malnutrition faced by the country’s youngest population.
Regional disparities are also evident, with 1,439 severely malnourished children reported from the Gampaha district and 1,432 from Kurunegala district.
While there is a slight improvement noted from October 2022, where 18,420 children were reported suffering from acute malnutrition, projections suggest a decrease to 12 percent in the prevalence of acute malnutrition by the end of 2023.
However, the report underscores concerning trends compared to the previous year, indicating a rise in stunted growth, underweight cases, and short stature among children under the age of 5 in 2023.